12. September 2012–
Holtzbrinck Digital has sold struggling "German Facebook" StudiVZ to international investment firm Vert Capital, five years after acquiring it for about €85 million.
The deal – size undisclosed – will see Vert Capital take all shares in Poolworks, which operates StudiVZ, SchülerVZ and MeinVZ. Holtzbrinck has kept an option to continue using youth-focused SchülerVZ.
Vert Capital is not an organisation easily found on the web. Yesterday's press release states Vert Capital is a private merchant bank and digital media fund, with a growing portfolio of social media and entertainment holdings. German news site W&V Online reports Vert is the latest owner of US network Bebo – not something VentureVillage or the press contacts for Holtzbrinck and Vert Capital could confirm.
Holtzbrinck Digital is the internet holding company of German media and publishing giant Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH and also provides funds to independent venture capital firm Holtzbrinck Ventures (backers of Groupon, Zalando, Delivery Hero, Wooga, DaWanda and Westwing, among others).
StudiVZ – from Facebook rival to firesale?
Since Holtzbrinck Digital bought StudiVZ (founded in 2005) in January 2007, and turned down an opportunity to sell to rival Facebook in early 2008, the platform has experienced a steady decline in user numbers.
The official line is that the new owners will continue to operate the group's platforms and "likely increase the features and functions of the social platform for its members".