VM Digital, the investment vehicle of Austrian media group Vorarlberger Medienhaus, recently acquired a minority share in German media company Publimind, operator of Caraworld.de, a marketplace for used caravans and motor homes, and Cris24.com, a search and booking engine for campgrounds with a Europe-wide focus.

The investment in Publimind brought the number of minority- and majority-owned special interest portals in the portfolio of VM Digital to eleven, which is one more than the goal of ten set by managing director Helmar Hipp roughly a year ago. But, VM Digital’s thirst for investment in special interest and classified portals in the German-speaking region and eastern Europe has not been quenched.

“We may invest in more portals, if they complement and strengthen our existing portfolio,” said Hipp.

According to VM Digital, Caraworld is the biggest online marketplace for caravans and motor homes in the German-speaking region. “The latest additions, Caraworld and Cris24, complement one another very well and the investment is in line with our strategy to invest in special interest portals,” said Hipp.

He declined to say how much money flowed for the minority stake, but said more than just money was involved in the strategic partnership. “Our team and the publimind team work closely together on themes such as SEO, SEM, usability and sales. The publimind portals also roll out joint-marketing actions with other portals in our portfolio,” he said.

On Caravan Salon 2009, a caravan and motor home show held in Düsseldorf in the first week of September, CaraWorld distributed a marketplace magazine titled CaraWorld, a joint-publication with Quoka.de, the big German free small ads portal owned by Vorarlberger Medienhaus.

“We only used print to promote the portals. The publication was planned as a once-off, but more issues are not out of the question,” explained Hipp.

VM Digital has long-term plans for seven of the eleven portals in its portfolio and would be willing to sell its minority shares (ranging from 5 to 20 percent) in the remaining four portals when the conditions were right. Included in the group of seven are Bikerszene.de, Caraworld.de, Cris24.com, Mascus.com, Pferde. de, Traumhochzeit.com and Vivatier.com.

“The goal is to exit the investments in Carsablanca.de, Internations.org, Mamiweb.de and Smash247.com,” said Hipp.


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