The ripple effect of a German publishing house bidding to buy out France’s leading property portal has boosted shares in Rightmove.The complicated chain of events seems to have been triggered by nothing else than investors speculating publishing giant Axel Springer will move to make further online property acquisitions after acquiring seloger.com.
Axel Springer already owns 12.4% of the seloger.com shares and now wants the remaining 14.5 million shares in a deal that values the portal at £468 million.
Rightmove is a bigger fish for Axel Springer to fry – with a market capitalisation of £838 million. Last year, profits were £42 million.
Shares started moving up on Friday, from a start of 715p, peaking at 796p, but finishing late in the day at 740p.
At midday today, they were down 7p at 733p.
“Classified advertisements have been a core business of Axel Springer since the inception of the group,” said Axel Springer CEO Dr Mathias Döpfner. “Axel Springer has already established itself as a major online player in several European markets.”
Analysts say Rightmove’s grip on the number one slot in online property advertising is not only ‘unassailable’ but ‘near monopolistic’.
Axel Springer is Europe’s largest newspaper publisher, with about 180 titles across 30 countries., including motor magazine Auto Express in the UK.
Previously, they have launched failed bids for UK national dailies The Independent and Daily Telegraph.
UK rivals Associated Newspapers, publisheers of the Dail Mail, Mail on Sunday and local titles up and down the country run several property web sites and have completed a successful takeover of Gobrix already this year.
An Axel Springer bid could spark a response from Associated.