Both the executive and supervisory board of media giant Axel Springer today issued their joint reasoned statement on the voluntary public tender offer by private equity group KKR, recommending that Springer shareholders accept the offer.
After examining KKR’s plans as laid out in the offer document, both boards welcome KKR’s intention to support Axel Springer’s long-term strategy going forward.
In a statement issued Thursday, Axel Springer said that “Friede Springer, vice chairwoman of the supervisory board, and Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Axel Springer, have not participated in passing the resolution as they and/or entities controlled by them will coordinate their conduct with respect to Axel Springer in a consortium with KKR in the future, subject to the consummation of the voluntary public tender offer.”
And Julian Deutz, Springer CFO, added that the company will, over the coming years, significantly invest in people, products, brands and technology. “With KKR as a financial and strategic partner we will be able to pursue these initiatives with a long-term focus on growth and profitability,” he said.
Axel Springer operates dozens of classified sites and brands, including StepStone, TotalJobs, SeLoger, LaCentrale, Yad2 and others.
Minority stockholders of the Berlin-based media group Axel Springer can now tender their shares at a price of €63 per share ($73 U.S.). The offer marks a 40 percent premium over the undisturbed share price.
In June, Springer made global headlines when it announced the buyout offer by KKR. The German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority has approved publication of the offer document, which specifies the implementation of the takeover bid.
The deal is supported by the company’s largest shareholder, Friede Springer, who owns 42.6 percent of the shares, and CEO Mathias Döpfner who controls 2.8 percent of the shares. Springer and Döpfner have separately agreed with KKR to retain their shareholdings in Axel Springer.
In a statement issued last week, KKR said its offer “is intended to enable a strategic investment in Axel Springer to support the company’s strategy in a partnership with Friede Springer and Mathias Döpfner. Both have committed to form a consortium with KKR to jointly develop Axel Springer further and strengthen its position in a rapidly changing and challenging market environment.”
The offer values Springer at €6.8bn ($7.6bn U.S.) and is subject to regulatory approvals and a minimum acceptance of 20 percent of Axel Springer’s share capital. If the offer goes through, KKR intends to propose a delisting of Axel Springer.
Taking Springer private will potentially make big transactions easier, paving the way for new deals and add-on acquisitions.
Springer is active in more than 40 countries and is the publisher behind a number of large media brands, including Business Insider and Europe’s most-read tabloid, Bild.