Burda wants to take over Xing – for the tidy sum of €147.3 million

Lars Hinrich
Lars Hinrich

The Burda publishing house is interested in buying out all shareholders in German professional networking site Xing, offering them a generous takeover bid. By taking over Xing, the Offenburger media corporation is making a consequential move to get more involved in the internet and digital sphere.

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Burda offers €44 per Xing share

On Friday, Hubert Burda Media told the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) that they, along with their daughter company Burda Digital, took over 9,5% of the Xing shares. With this, Burda has gained around 38.9% of the Xing shares, paying €40.44 per share. Xing has been on the stock market since 2006 and has now amassed roughly 300 staff members.

Until recently, Burda had 29.43% of the shares at Xing after buying in in November 2009.  And it shouldn’t just stay at 38.9%, as Burda has offered the remaining Xing shareholders to buy them out for over €44 per share. The complete takeover of Xing would cost Burda Digital over €147.3 million.

According to Burda, this is a markup of 16.7% on the evaluated market price from the past three months. Holger Eckstein, CFO of Hubert Burda Media, says “With 44 euros per share, we are offering an attractive price to the current share holders that is significantly over the market price of the past three months. As we are not planning on taking the company off the stockmarket, we are happy with every shareholder that chooses to stay investing in Xing AG with us.”

How Xing fits with Burda

Through the takeover of Xing, Burda is investing more in the digital market, which is an area of growth and profit, especially when compared to Burda’s core market of traditional print publishing. Through Burda Digital Ventures the media corporation has holdings in companies such as GameDuell, Zooplus and is also the main shareholder in Tomorrow Focus AG – that has holdings in companies such as HolidayCheck, Elite Partner, Finanzen100 and Jameda.

Through this deal, Xing will be situated in the vocational and business sectors,  which is complementary to online recruiting and job placement.  Burda also offers Xing other benefits: with its 311 magazines globally, 82 of which are published in Germany, Burda counts as Germany’s largest publishing house. Along to their head office in Offenburg, Burda also has branches in Munich, Hamburg and Berlin.

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It’s hardly suprising that Xing founder Lars Hinrichs is euphoric at the concept of being taken over by Burda. On Twitter, Hinrich called the remaining Xing shareholders to sell their shares and expressed his approval of the conditions of the deal. For all Xing users, the sale to Burda might be less exciting. The logical move would be to join forces with US professional networking site LinkedIn. For now, it looks like German professionals must continue to have two profiles, but should nonetheless be happy for one of the biggest exits in the German internet scene.

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