Berlin / Munich / Hamburg — The Scout24 AG (“Scout24″ or “the Group”), a leading operator of digital marketplaces focusing on real estate and automotive in Germany and other selected European countries, has entered into an agreement to acquire all shares in the FFG FINANZCHECK Finanzportale GmbH (“FINANZCHECK.de”), a German online comparison portal for consumer loans. Scout24 acquires FINANZCHECK.de from Acton Capital Partners, btov Partners, Highland Europe, HarbourVest Partners as well as from the founder and CEO and other investors (together the “Sellers”). The closing is subject to antitrust approval and is expected within the next four to six weeks. The transaction is based on a consideration of €285 million, free of cash and debt. The purchase price is paid entirely in cash.
FINANZCHECK.de operates an online platform for consumer finance and offers users a fast and efficient comparison of consumer loans in real time. In addition, FINANZCHECK.de cooperates with affiliate websites, point-of-sale financing partners and partner networks in Germany via its own consumer finance technology platform. In terms of market share and market positioning in the online comparison of consumer loans, FINANZCHECK.de is one of the top three portals in Germany. Using an uncomplicated online query, credit offers and credit-related products from all major providers on the market can be compared within minutes. For credit inquiries on installment loans, car loans and debt rescheduling loans, credit advisors are available on request in addition to online inquiry — seven days a week and free of charge.
Through this acquisition of high strategic importance, Scout24 will in future work with one of the leading industry providers to be able to offer users an outstanding user experience and help them save time and money in their search for the right consumer loan. Banks and financial institutions can also be provided with a cost-effective and scalable way to offer their services to loan seekers. FINANZCHECK.de has built its successful business on its own technology platform with machine learning capabilities and API connections (Application Programming Interface) to the most relevant financial service providers in Germany.
The market for online consumer loan comparisons is a fast-growing market, benefiting both from a good overall development of the more than 80 billion euros in new consumer loans granted in Germany and from a progressive shift in consumer loan transactions from offline channels to online. Over the period from 2015 to 2022, the market share of consumer loans generated through online comparison is expected to double.
With an average annual growth rate of around 35% over the last three years, FINANZCHECK.de can demonstrate a strong growth history and generated revenues of more than 35 million euros in the fiscal year ending December 2017. This brings the volume of loans brokered since the company was founded in 2012 to more than EUR 3.5 billion. In addition, with more than 20 financial institutions connected to its technology platform via API, FINANZCHECK.de has comprehensive market coverage with regard to the main providers of consumer finance.
The acquisition of FINANZCHECK.de is an important strategic step to support users during their consumer journey and to implement Scout24’s motto “Inspiring your best decisions” — perfectly complemented by FINANZCHECK.de’s motto “enabling for money”. The acquisition builds on the already well-established and successful business partnership between the two companies in brokering consumer financing for car seekers on the AutoScout24 and FinanceScout24 platforms.
Since the IPO in October 2015, Scout24 has already acquired and successfully integrated several other companies from its European core markets, such as AutoTrader B.V. in the Netherlands or Gebrauchtwagen.at in Austria, which were a perfect strategic fit and at the same time contributed to the expansion of the market position. In this respect, FINANZCHECK.de with its strong and established brand is a perfect complement to the existing business and contributes significantly to the scope and reach of the market network — which in turn also benefits the future development of FINANZCHECK.de.
“The acquisition of FINANZCHECK.de is another major step in the digitization of the Consumer Journey within the Scout24 market network. It is a perfect fit for our business, and we are convinced that this strategic move will enable us to expand Consumer Services sales growth to the EUR 250 million mark in the medium term. In addition to operational synergies and revenue contribution, we also gain an even deeper understanding of user needs to the point of transaction. With insight into user lifecycles and an understanding of when a user will start their next search for a new car or home, we can gain very valuable insights for our business. These will help us strategically align our offering so we can build more bridges to future user touchpoints,” emphasizes Gregory Ellis, CEO of Scout24 AG, the high strategic value and leverage of the transaction, which will help close the gaps in covering the consumer journey along the value chains of the real estate and automotive businesses.
“We are delighted to have Scout24 on board as our new parent company. This new alliance builds on an already very good cooperation within the framework of our long-standing affiliate partnership,” says Moritz Thiele, CEO and founder of FINANZCHECK.de.
The Management Board of Scout24 sees considerable opportunities to drive growth in this segment through the expansion of the Consumer Services division to include FINANZCHECK.de. This is primarily due to a more integrated service offering on the Scout24 platforms, with which Scout24 can accompany the consumer journey to a greater extent. The Executive Board anticipates synergies in both the automotive and real estate businesses. The initial focus will be on expanding the presence of FINANZCHECK.de on the AutoScout24 platform in order to meet further user needs relating to car purchases. Car loans are an essential part of buying a car; about 40% of used cars are partially or fully financed. Scout24’s management plans to extend the offer to the AutoScout24 platforms in the European core markets in the future.
In addition to strengthening the AutoScout24 platform through integrated car financing, Scout24’s Management Board sees additional synergies and revenue potential by leveraging the existing close relationships with the approximately 26,000 AutoScout24 dealer partners in Germany. For example, AutoScout24 can also offer the business-to-business solution “finanzcheckPRO” from FINANZCHECK.de, which helps car dealers to show potential car buyers suitable financing options for their desired car purchase and enable its implementation.
Consultant SCOUT 24
Scout24 was advised in the transaction by McKinsey & Company, Inc., BDO AG Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft, Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP and by Credit Suisse (Deutschland) AG advised. The Scout24 Group is financing the acquisition through a credit facility.
FINANZCHECK.de and its shareholders were supported in the transaction by Macquarie Capital (Europe) Limited as exclusive financial adviser and Leo Schmidt-Hollburg Witte & Frank as legal adviser. advise The transaction continued to be supported by Ernst & Young and EY Parthenon. Bettermind GmbH supported the FINANZCHECK.de management internally in the process and ensured further growth in parallel.
About SCOUT 24
With our leading digital marketplaces ImmobilienScout24 in Germany and AutoScout24 in Europe, we inspire people to make their best decisions when it comes to finding a property or a car. Scout24 bundles individual additional services, such as credit reports, the procurement of relocation services or construction and car financing, in the Scout24 Consumer Services business segment. More than 1,200 employees work on the success of our products and services. We put our users at the center and create a networked offering for living and mobility. Scout24 AG is a listed stock corporation and is traded on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (ISIN: DE000A12DM80, Ticker: G24). For more information, visit www.scout24.com.
FINANZCHECK.de, based in Hamburg, is one of the leading independent, technology-supported consumer finance platforms in Germany. FINANZCHECK.de connects consumers with product providers across all channels. Consumers benefit from significant interest cost savings and higher financing options, while product providers benefit from significantly lower customer acquisition costs. The goal of FINANZCHECK.de is to become the leading provider of consumer liquidity solutions through plug-and-play infrastructure. Direct interfaces to the IT infrastructure of financial service providers are used to compare >70 consumer credit products. The end-to-end platform incorporates industry-leading technology and customer service to cover the entire lifecycle from customer acquisition to credit approval and beyond. For more information, visit www.finanzcheck.de.
About Acton Capital Partners
Acton Capital Partners is a growth investor from Munich for internet companies. The investment focus is on startups with scalable business models in the areas of online marketplaces, e‑commerce, online services, digital media and SaaS. Acton invests in Europe and North America. The team has been working together successfully for many years and has invested in over 70 companies since 1999. Its best-known holdings include AbeBooks, Alando, AlphaSights, Ciao, Elitepartner, Etsy, HolidayCheck, Linas Matkasse, Lumas, mytheresa.com, OnVista, Windeln.de and zooplus. To learn more, visit: www.actoncapital.com.
About btov Partners
btov Partners, founded in 2000, is a European venture capital firm with offices in Berlin, Luxembourg and St. Gallen. The investment focus is on digital and industrial technology companies. btov manages institutional funds, partner funds and provides access to direct investments for private investors and family offices. Through its three divisions, the company manages assets of 375 million euros and reviews over 3,000 investment opportunities annually. To learn more, visit: www.btov.vc.
About HarbourVest Partners
HarbourVest is an independent global private equity investor with more than 35 years of experience and more than $50 million in assets under management. The financial investor’s global platform offers clients investment opportunities through primary fund investments, secondary investments and direct co-investments in commingled funds or others. HarbourVest employs more than 400 people, including more than 100 investment specialists in Asia, Europe and the US. The global team has committed more than $34 billion to newly established funds, completed more than $19 billion in secondary purchases, and invested more than $8 billion directly. By partnering with HarbourVest, clients benefit in a variety of ways from customized solutions, long-standing relationships, key expertise, and successful results. To learn more, visit: www.harbourvest.com.
About Highland Europe
Highland Europe invests in exceptional growth software and Internet companies. Highland Europe, the company which has been active in Europe since 2003 as Highland Capital Partners and was officially founded in 2012, has raised over €1 billion and invested in companies such as Adjust, Bitmovin, ContentSquare, GetSourGuide, Malwarebytes, MatchesFashion, NewVoiceMedia, Nexthink, Smartly.io and WeTransfer. Together, the sites in the U.S., Europe and China include 46 IPOs and >$19 billion companies. To learn more, visit: www.highlandeurope.com.