Springer explores auFeminin side


COLOGNE, Germany -- German publishing giant Axel Springer is continuing its European expansion with the acquisition of a 41.4% stake in women's Internet portal auFeminin.com.

Springer signed the deal late Wednesday with the French founders of auFeminin.com. If the agreement is approved by regulatory authorities, Springer will make a buyout offer to remaining auFeminin.com shareholders, offering €32 ($43) a share, in a deal that could cost Springer up to €284 million ($383 million).

Shares in auFeminin.com were trading flat at €31.75 ($42.70) on the Paris exchange at noon Thursday.

The site is Europe's largest Internet portal that specifically targets women. Based in Paris, it also is a market leader in Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium and Switzerland.

Revenue at the Web site jumped 54% to €13.4 million ($18 million) last year, while EBIT project rose 79% to €7.3 million ($9.8 million).

Springer sees major synergy opportunities with auFeminin.com. The German group publishes several top-selling women's titles, including Bild der Frau and Frau von Heute.