Wednesday , May 18 2022

AutoScout24 is for sale


Scout24 boss Tobias Hartman can imagine selling his car advertising portal AutoScout24. "In order to create long-term value for all our shareholders, we have initiated an audit of strategic alternatives to AutoScout24," Hartmann said in Munich on Tuesday.

In an interview with the Reuters news agency, he said that this includes possible sale or separation. Scout24 did not rush to make a decision against the background of strong growth: "AutoScout24 has no non-permanent date." The first test results should be available by the end of November.

Elliot as the new owner?

In doing so, Hartman approaches investor activist Elliott, who owns more than seven percent of Scout24 and has asked for a split with AutoScout24. The chief executive had already announced in July that it would split the ImmobilienScout24 and AutoScout24 pillars into two more pillars, and further split the mediation of houses and apartments as well as cars. "This will increase operational efficiency and provide greater flexibility in pursuing different strategic options for the two core businesses, AutoScout24 and ImmobilienScout24."

Hartman plans to increase its operating margin (Ebitda's margin) to 57 percent within two years, he told Reuters. "With the help of our new strategy, we see an opportunity to increase our operating margin by another 200-300 basis points by 2021." For 2019, 52 to 54 percent are targeted.

The real estate portal is much cheaper

ImmobilienScout is significantly more profitable than AutoScout24 and – unlike its sister company – also number one in Germany. AutoScout24 sees itself as a leader in Europe, but lags behind in Germany behind before. Recently, Scout24 also explored the acquisition opportunities for the automotive industry, but became quiet about the possible sale of by its owner, Ebay. "As far as acquisitions are concerned, there is currently not much on the market that really fits," Hartman admitted. For the interest of Axel Springer and the Auto1 used car portal to AutoScout24, he declined to comment.

Elliott Capital Advisors also expects Scout24 to significantly expand its share repurchase program to over € 1 billion. Hartman did not want to comment on this. The share, which is listed in the MDax minority index, remained near its highest of € 52.50 on Tuesday. Elliott believes an increase of 65 euros is possible if the board meets the requirements. "Our ideas and those of our investors are not far apart," Hartman told Reuters.

AutoScout24's mother sees herself on course

Operationally, Scout24 sees itself on course. Turnover is expected to grow by 15 to 17 percent in 2019, as planned, and to reach 301 million in the first six months of the first six months. Ebitda's normal business margin is 51.2 (adjusted for the previous year: 50.8) percent. However, net profit contracted by 22 percent to EUR 52.1 million due to the acquisition of the financial intermediary by the deficit and the price of share bonuses.

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