Scout24 takeover offer by Hellman & Friedman, Blackstone fails

BERLIN (Reuters) - A takeover bid for Germany’s Scout24 led by Hellman & Friedman and Blackstone has failed as it did not secure the required support of 50 percent of shares, the bidders said on Tuesday.

The offer from private equity firm Hellman & Friedman, in partnership with Blackstone, had valued the Munich-based company at 5.7 billion euros ($6.4 billion) including debt. It was pitched at 46 euros per share.

Best known for its ImmobilienScout24 home listings in Germany and AutoScout24 car listings across Europe, the company was previously owned by Hellman & Friedman, which acquired a controlling stake from Deutsche Telekom in 2013 before listing the business in 2015.

The bidders said they had received acceptances for only around 42.8% of Scout24 shares. The minimum threshold was therefore not reached, they added.

Scout24 CEO Tobias Hartmann said that although he was in favor of the strategic partnership with Hellman & Friedman and Blackstone, he respected the shareholders’ decision, calling it “a vote of confidence in the company’s future and management”.

Share in Scout24 were down almost 6 percent at 43.04 euros in late morning trade.

An initial offer of 43.50 euros per share was rejected by the company in January, prompting an increased offer in February, but some analysts had said that was still too low.

The bidders repeatedly said they would not reduce the 50% threshold they set for the deal to happen, as the tender period, which ended on May 9 but was followed by several days to evaluate the outcome of the process, neared its end.

“We will further focus on our growth strategy and continue to develop Scout24 as an independent company” CEO Hartmann said.

The company earlier reported a 21% revenue increase in the first quarter which led to a 70.9 million euro operating profit, and confirmed its targets for the financial year.

Reporting by Tassilo Hummel; Editing by Riham Alkousaa/Keith Weir