* Burda to exit Zooplus in one to two years
* Sees little chance of dividend payment
* To hold onto 51 percent stake in Xing (Adds details on Xing)
By Jörn Poltz
MUNICH, Germany, Feb 25 (Reuters) - German publisher Hubert Burda plans to exit its 30 percent stake in online pet supplies store Zooplus within the next two to three years, Burda’s digital chief told Reuters.
Zooplus, which says it is Europe’s top online retailer for pet supplies, has seen its shares leap 80 percent in the past 12 months, valuing the company at 639 million euros ($726 million).
Burda’s Stefan Winners told Reuters that Zooplus’s rapid growth - its sales rose 34 percent last year to 571 million euros - meant it would rather invest in expansion than pay a dividend.
“That makes sense for Zooplus but does not fit into our strategy,” he said in an interview. “We want to invest in digital businesses that also make dividends possible.”
He added that pet food had little in common with Burda’s other businesses. Burda publishes celebrity, women’s and lifestyle magazines including Bunte and Playboy in some markets. It also owns several Web portals and has a printing operation.
Winners said Burda planned to hold onto its 51 percent stake in German business networking site Xing - a popular German-language equivalent of LinkedIn - which did fit Burda’s image and brand. (Writing by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Maria Sheahan)