Axel Springer buys 20 pct stake in French start-up Qwant.com

FRANKFURT, June 19 Thu Jun 19, 2014 5:42am EDT

FRANKFURT, June 19 (Reuters) - German publisher Axel Springer said on Thursday it was buying a 20 percent stake in French start-up company Qwant.com, which offers Internet searches, for an undisclosed sum.

"There is a lot of innovation on the search market," Ulrich Schmitz, chief technology offer of Axel Springer and managing director of subsidiary Axel Springer Digital Ventures, said in a statement.

Qwant.com, which has 25 employees and is headquartered in Paris, launched the first version of its search service in France in 2013 and in Germany in March 2014.

It processed more than half a billion search requests last year, compared with around 1.2 trillion annual searches by Google, the dominant search engine in Europe. (Reporting by Maria Sheahan; editing by Jason Neely)

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