Germany’s ProSiebenSat.1 Media (ETR: PSM), one of the largest independent media companies in Europe, said it is acquiring a majority stake in Hamburg-based Parship Elite Group, a leading online dating service in Germany, from private equity firm Oakley Capital (LSE: OCL), in a deal which values the company at €300 million.
ProSiebenSat.1 said it will pay €100 million to acquire 50 percent of Parship Elite’s equity, plus one share, and will acquire an additional €100 million in preferred stock to replace Parship Elite’s existing debt.
Oakley Capital Private Equity II and Parship Elite’s existing management, will continue to hold minority interests totaling just under 50 percent of the company. The deal is subject to approval by antitrust authorities.
Since its initial acquisition of Parship 16 months ago, Oakley’s equity investment has generated a 2.3x cash return and a money multiple of 3.6x overall, including Fund II’s retained stake in the group, says Oakley Capital, a Bermuda-based mid-market private equity firm listed on London’s AIM market, with €785 million in assets under management.
As the inventor of scientific matchmaking in Europe, Parship has supported its members since 2001 to find the right match for a happy long-term relationship. Parship singles are active and sophisticated men and women from 25 years of age upwards. The heart of the Parship service is an 80-question personality test. Each member is offered detailed profiles of well-suited members with whom they can exchange messages and pictures if interested. “Today, every 11 minutes a single finds his or her match with Parship,” says the company.
“The acquisition of the Parship Elite Group underscores our strategic focus on established, profitable growth companies that are market leaders in their segment, stand to benefit considerably from TV advertising, and reinforce our digital business,” said Christian Wegner, member of the executive board of ProSiebenSat.1’s Digital Ventures & Commerce.
“Following the Verivox and Etraveli acquisitions, the acquisition of the majority interest in Parship Elite Group is the third large bolt-on acquisition for ProSiebenSat.1 Group within the last 12 months, marking another important milestone to achieving our objective of building a profitably growing digital business footprint outside classical TV advertising,” said Gunnar Wiedenfels, CFO of ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE.
“We are excited by the opportunity of partnering together with ProSiebenSat.1 and management to continue the impressive growth of Parship Elite Group. We see great growth potential for the company in Europe,” said Peter Dubens, managing partner of Oakley Capital.
“The investment by ProSiebenSat.1 will give us further momentum to attain our growth targets,” said Parship Elite CEO Tim Schiffers. “We are looking forward to receiving the support of ProSiebenSat.1’s expertise, networks, and above all wide-reach target group appeal on TV.“
7Commerce, the strategic investment arm of ProSiebenSat.1, focuses mainly on the segments of Beauty & Accessories (Amorelie, Flaconi, Valmano, Stylight) and Online Comparison (Verivox, moebel.de, preis24, 12Auto). The strategy of 7Commerce is based on the premise that the TV-to-online lever works best in the segments of fashion and lifestyle. As such, the synergies between online dating and TV are expected to be particularly conducive to promoting the growth of Parship Elite in the German market.
To enhance synergies and promote interchanges among all strategic ventures of ProSiebenSat.1, long-term partnerships are organized into special verticals or clusters. SevenVentures pools all venture investments (minority investments and media cooperations) under one roof. Through media-for-revenue and media-for-equity investment models, the portfolio companies receive advertising time in exchange for a revenue or equity share.