Germany's Axel Springer to Acquire 88 Percent of Business Insider for $343 Million

The company already owned a 9 percent stake and says the transaction will help it to broaden its global reach.

German media giant Axel Springer has agreed to acquire another 88 percent stake in New York City-based digital news outfit Business Insider. The company previously already owned a 9 percent stake, so the deal would take it to 97 percent ownership.

The company will pay $343 million for the 88 percent stake, valuing Business Insider at $390 million.

Bezos Expeditions, the personal investment company of boss Jeff Bezos, will hold the remaining shares in the company, which launched in 2007.

"This acquisition is a vital part of Axel Springer’s strategy to broaden its global reach, diversify its English-language offerings and expand its commitment to innovative digital journalism," the company said.

NBCUniversal was also understood to have been looking at Business Insider before recently announcing deals for stakes in BuzzFeed and Vox Media.

The addition of Business Insider’s 76 million unique monthly visitors will increase Axel Springer’s worldwide digital audience by two-thirds to approximately 200 million users, "making the company one of the world’s six largest digital publishers in terms of reach," Springer said. The German company is a major player in print, controlling Das Bild, Europe's largest tabloid newspaper, and is pushing hard to translate that into online impact. The acquisition also marks a major move into English-language media. Up till now, Springer had been mainly focused on expansion in continental Europe. 

Former Wall Street analyst Henry Blodget, founder, CEO and editor-in-chief of Business Insider, and Julie Hansen, COO and president, will continue to lead the company in their respective roles.

The deal requires antitrust approval.

Mathias Dopfner, CEO of Axel Springer, said: "With the acquisition of Business Insider, we continue with our strategy to expand Axel Springer’s digital reach and, as previously announced, invest in digital journalism companies in English-speaking regions of the world. Business Insider has set new standards in digital business journalism globally."

He added: "Combining our forces will allow us to unlock growth potential and expand Business Insider’s portfolio to new verticals, new locations and new digital content."