Axel Springer buys Logic-Immo for $115 million US

26 Apr 2017

German media group Axel Springer acquired Paris-based Concept Multimedia, which operates France’s No. 3 property platform Logic-Immo, for €105 million ($115 million U.S.), according to a news release of Axel Springer.

Axel Springer already owns SeLoger.com, France’s No. 2 property site, which it acquired in 2011 for €633 million ($850 million U.S.). 

The sale is subject to the approval of the French Competition Authority. Should the take-over get the green light, it’ll complete the process of dismantling the loss-making media group Spir Communication.

Logic-Immo.com receives around 5 million visits per month, according to SimilarWeb. It has around 1 million listings and employs 317 people. Apart from Logic-Immo, Concept Multimedia owns a number of real estate outlets, such as print publications with real estate ads and dedicated online platforms for luxury real estate and new property development.

Logic-Immo recently launched steps to expand its list of services to real estate agents, and currently it creates websites, helps agents acquire traffic via Google, and retargets advertising to point customers to their sites – apart from accepting listings. 

“Seloger and Logic-Immo in combination should form a good defense for Axel Springer against LeBonCoin’s recent strong performance in real estate listings. This should also give Axel Springer a stronger national footprint, with Logic-Immo’s strong position in the south-east of France, and Seloger in Paris,” commented investment firm Arctic Securities.

(The competitive situation in France reminds a lot of that in Germany, where Axel Springer bundled the No. 2 (Immowelt.de) and No. 3 (Immonet.de) together in 2015, to offer the undisputed No. 1 (Immobilienscout24.de) real competition. Two years later, Axel Springer has gained a lot of experience in running two brands against the leader – editor.)

“Logic-Immo has a market share among French real estate agents of approximately 48 percent, against Seloger’s 66 percent and LeBonCoin’s 72 percent,” Arctic Securities said.

Spir Communication, the owner of Logic-Immo, stated a month ago that it had started exclusive talks to sell the site (we reported here).

In 2016, Logic-Immo staff posted a petition on Change.org against a take-over by Axel Springer (we reported here). At the time, Cyril Janin, CEO of Logic-Immo, told us Logic-Immo was not for sale.

In 2015, Concept Multimedia had a turnover of €77 million ($81 million U.S.) and an operating profit of €5.5 million. Spir Communication has, however, been suffering losses for a while, due to strong competitive pressures, high distribution costs, and dwindling local and print advertising. Its internet activities remained the strongest performers over all these times.

According to most recent numbers, Spir’s revenue was down by nearly 16 percent to 76 million in FY2016 – eight times lower than its revenue in 2007. Due to these losses the company began the process of dismantling several years ago, with the gradual sale of classified sites and other units.  The most notable sale was that of general classifieds site LeBonCoin.fr in 2010 to Schibsted Classified Media.

In addition, Spir has sold Car&Boat Media to Axel Springer, which owns France’s leading used-auto site LaCentrale.fr.

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Anastasia Gnezditskaia

Anastasia Gnezditskaia has joined AIM Group in 2014 as a writer/analyst covering France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Eastern Europe. A Russian living in Antwerp, Belgium, she has a background working for trade publications covering markets and their regulation. She is educated at Moscow State Lomonosov University (MA in psychology) and Central European University (PhD in public policy). After obtaining her doctoral degree, she taught international political economy at George Washington University in Washington DC where she lived for 10 years. Following this she managed international development projects in Africa at the World Bank, and worked as a journalist covering Congress, federal government agencies and commodity markets, particularly shale gas development in North America.