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Digital marketplace: TX Group, Ringier, Mobiliar and General Atlantic establish joint venture

Photo: CEO of the joint venture will be Gilles Despas
31. August 2021

Zurich (Switz­er­land) — The merger of the online market­pla­ces of TX Markets and Scout24 Switz­er­land crea­tes a leading Swiss group in real estate, vehi­cles, finan­cial services and gene­ral market­pla­ces. The joint venture will be one of the largest digi­tal compa­nies in Switz­er­land. All parties invol­ved hold mino­rity inte­rests in the joint venture. The inde­pen­dent group of compa­nies is pursuing an IPO as a medium-term goal.

TX Group brings the TX Markets plat­forms Ricardo, tutti.ch, Home­gate and Car For You into the new joint venture. Ringier as well as Mobi­liar parti­ci­pate by contri­bu­ting the Scout24 Schweiz Group, which opera­tes the plat­forms ImmoScout24, AutoScout24, MotoScout24, FinanceScout24 and anibis.ch. The fourth share­hol­der will be the globally active growth inves­tor Gene­ral Atlan­tic, which will support the group with its many years of inter­na­tio­nal exper­tise in the field of digi­tal marketplaces.

Lothar Lanz is appoin­ted Chair­man of the Board of Direc­tors of the new, inde­pen­dent company. The expe­ri­en­ced finance and digi­tal expert is curr­ently Chair­man of the Super­vi­sory Board of Home24 SE, Deputy Chair­man of the Super­vi­sory Board of TAG Immo­bi­lien AG and a member of the Super­vi­sory Board of Derm­a­pharm SE. He was also a member of the Super­vi­sory Board of Zalando SE (Presi­dent) and Axel Sprin­ger SE, among others. Previously, he was Chief Finan­cial Offi­cer for many years at ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE.

The Board of Direc­tors will conti­nue to include: Jörn Niko­lay, Olivier Rihs, Michèle Rodoni, Pietro Supino and Marc Walder.

CEO of the joint venture will be Gilles Despas (photo), curr­ently CEO of Scout24 Switz­er­land Group. Previously, he was Chief Digi­tal Offi­cer and Group Chief Marke­ting Offi­cer at Thomas Cook in London, and Mana­ging Direc­tor and CEO of Eboo­kers and HolidayCheck.

The market­pla­ces of TX Group, Ringier and Mobi­liar have shown strong growth in recent years, both in terms of user numbers and range of services. At the same time, the plat­forms operate in an extre­mely chal­len­ging envi­ron­ment. Constantly rising custo­mer demands as well as inter­na­tio­nal compe­ti­tors — from globally opera­ting plat­forms to fast-growing disrup­tive start-ups — are crea­ting incre­a­sing market dynamics.

Combi­ning forces to form one of the largest digi­tal compa­nies in Switz­er­land makes it possi­ble to create a compe­ti­tive Swiss market­place offe­ring and thus act as a pioneer in the Swiss market.

The new joint venture will combine the exper­tise of exis­ting teams and digi­tal talent to drive the deve­lo­p­ment of inno­va­tive digi­tal products and services. In this way, the incre­a­sing demands of users and custo­mers will be served even better in the future. At the same time, the joint venture will make a signi­fi­cant contri­bu­tion to further digi­tiz­a­tion in Switzerland.

Pietro Supino, Presi­dent and Publis­her of TX Group: “Our part­ners­hip with Gene­ral Atlan­tic, Mobi­liar and Ringier is the fruit of a long process. It is a big step for all parties invol­ved, which shows a promi­sing, digi­tal perspec­tive for Switz­er­land as a loca­tion in the incre­a­singly inter­na­tio­nal compe­ti­tive envi­ron­ment. We are convin­ced that by combi­ning our strong market­pla­ces, we will promote their further growth. The key prere­qui­site for further success­ful deve­lo­p­ment is to incre­ase the rele­vance of our services for our users. This will also enable us to offer our busi­ness custo­mers grea­ter effi­ci­ency directly. Toge­ther, we can expand invest­ment in product deve­lo­p­ment and our attrac­ti­ve­ness as an employer.”

Marc Walder, CEO of Ringier: “Ringier, TX Group and Mobi­liar have succee­ded in brin­ging toge­ther their leading real estate, vehi­cle, finan­cing and clas­si­fieds plat­forms. With Gene­ral Atlan­tic, we are joined by a globally reco­gni­zed, success­ful inves­tor with exten­sive expe­ri­ence in digi­tal market­pla­ces. This crea­tes a uniquely posi­tio­ned company in Switz­er­land. With this group, we will signi­fi­cantly expand our custo­mer focus across all busi­ness areas. Through targe­ted invest­ments in inno­va­tive products and services, we will meet the requi­re­ments of our custo­mers and users even better. This shared vision drives all share­hol­ders involved.”

Michèle Rodoni, CEO of Mobi­liar: “As a leading Swiss insurance company, we strive to find solu­ti­ons that enable us to strike the right balance in the long term between the rapidly growing digi­tal offer worlds and our long-stan­­ding, success­ful presence with our local entre­pre­neu­rial gene­ral agen­cies. Thanks to our invest­ment in Scout24 Switz­er­land five years ago, we have gained important insights for the deve­lo­p­ment and expan­sion of our own offe­rings around housing and for SMEs. That’s why it’s abso­lutely logi­cal for us to be on board and remain so when one of the leading Swiss digi­tal market­pla­ces is created.”

Jörn Niko­lay, Mana­ging Direc­tor and respon­si­ble for Gene­ral Atlantic’s German busi­ness: “We are proud to be able to help shape one of Switzerland’s leading digi­tal compa­nies toge­ther with our new part­ners. As a global growth inves­tor, we bring our long-stan­­ding exper­tise in the stra­te­gic deve­lo­p­ment of digi­tal busi­ness models to this part­ners­hip, very speci­fi­cally in the online clas­si­fieds busi­ness. We are plea­sed to accom­pany the venture in this exci­ting growth phase.”

TX Group AG holds 31 percent of the new joint venture, Ringier AG and Mobi­liar 29.5 percent each and the growth inves­tor Gene­ral Atlan­tic 10 percent. The four share­hol­ders each hold 25 percent of the voting rights.

About TX Group
TX Group forms a network of digi­tal plat­forms that provi­des users with daily infor­ma­tion, orien­ta­tion, enter­tain­ment and assi­s­tance for ever­y­day life. Four inde­pen­dent compa­nies operate under the umbrella of the TX Group: TX Markets compri­ses the digi­tal clas­si­fieds plat­forms and market­pla­ces; Gold­bach stands for adver­ti­sing marke­ting in Switz­er­land, Germany and Austria; 20 Minu­ten is the company for commu­ter media in Switz­er­land and abroad; Tame­dia is leading the paid daily and weekly news­pa­pers and maga­zi­nes into the future.

About Ringier
Ringier AG is an inno­va­tive, digi­ti­zed and diver­si­fied Swiss media company active in Europe, Africa and Asia. The port­fo­lio inclu­des over 110 subsi­dia­ries in print, digi­tal media, radio, ticke­ting, enter­tain­ment and e‑commerce, as well as leading digi­tal market­pla­ces in auto­mo­tive, real estate and jobs. As a venture capi­ta­list, Ringier promo­tes inno­va­tive digi­tal start-ups. Foun­ded in 1833 as a publi­shing house and prin­ting house, the family-owned Ringier company has consist­ently inves­ted in the digi­tiz­a­tion and inter­na­tio­na­liz­a­tion of the Group in recent years. In 2020, around 6800 employees in 18 coun­tries gene­ra­ted sales of CHF 953.7 million. Today, 69 percent of opera­ting profit already comes from the digi­tal busi­ness, giving Ringier a leading posi­tion among Euro­pean media compa­nies. Ringier stands for pionee­ring spirit, inde­pen­dence and free­dom of opinion.

About Mobi­liar
Every third house­hold and every third company in Switz­er­land is insu­red with Mobi­liar. As of Decem­ber 31, 2020, the all-line insu­rer had a premium volume of around 4.1 billion euros. Franks on. 80 Unter­neh­mer gene­ral agen­cies with their own claims service guaran­tee proxi­mity to the appro­xi­mately 2.2 million custo­mers at around 160 locations.
Mobi­liar employs around 5900 people in its home markets of Switz­er­land and the Princi­pa­lity of Liech­ten­stein and offers 338 appren­ti­ce­ships. Foun­ded in 1826 as a coope­ra­tive, Mobi­liar is the oldest private insurance company in Switz­er­land. To this day, the Board of Direc­tors of Schwei­ze­ri­sche Mobi­liar Genos­sen­schaft ensu­res that the coope­ra­tive orien­ta­tion of the Group is maintained.

About Gene­ral Atlantic
Gene­ral Atlan­tic is a leading global growth capi­tal inves­tor that has provi­ded capi­tal and stra­te­gic support to more than 400 high-growth compa­nies to date for more than four deca­des. Foun­ded in 1980 to part­ner with visio­nary entre­pre­neurs to create lasting value, the firm combi­nes a colla­bo­ra­tive global approach, indus­­try-speci­­fic exper­tise, a long-term invest­ment hori­zon and a deep under­stan­ding of growth drivers to create excep­tio­nal busi­ness models with outstan­ding manage­ment teams world­wide. Gene­ral Atlan­tic curr­ently mana­ges more than $65 billion in assets (as of March 31, 2021); the team inclu­des more than 175 invest­ment profes­sio­nals in New York, Amster­dam, Beijing, Hong Kong, Jakarta, London, Mexico City, Mumbai, Munich, Palo Alto, São Paulo, Shang­hai, Sing­a­pore and Stam­ford, Connecticut.

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