Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Deutsche Telekom nears sale of Scout24 – sources [ He4lthherb4l ]

FRANKFURT/LONDON (Reuters) – Deutsche Telekom is close to selling a 70 percent stake in its classified advertising business, Scout24, to private equity firm Hellman & Friedman for 1.4 billion euros ($ 1.89 billion), two people familiar with the talks said on Wednesday.

The transaction values Scout24 at about 2 billion euros ($ 2.71 billion), including debt.

“The deal could be announced in the coming days, but it has not been signed yet,” said one person.

Hellman & Friedman would pay 1.4 billion euros for a 70 percent stake, the person added.

Another person said Deutsche Telekom’s supervisory board would meet on Wednesday to decide on the sale.

The sale comes almost a year after Deutsche Telekom said it would look at options for the cluster of internet portals including European car trading site AutoScout24.

Deutsche Telekom and Hellman & Friedman declined to comment.

Deutsche Telekom is looking for cash to fund the roll-out of a next generation mobile network, which can transport huge amounts of data, to cater for a growing number of customers who use smartphones and tablets.

At the same time it is rolling out a glass fibre fixed network to offer superfast internet to compete against its cable rivals.

It said in December last year it expected to invest almost 30 billion euros between 2013-2015.

Deutsche Telekom is also evaluating its stake in British mobile operator EE, a joint venture with France Telecom. ($ 1 = 0.7394 euros)

(Reporting by Alexander Huebner, Arno Schuetze, Claire Ruckin and Harro ten Wolde; Editing by Victoria Bryan and Louise Heavens)