Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Axel Springer Buys Business Insider Stake in Digital Expansion

A group of investors led by Axel Springer SE, Europe’s biggest newspaper publisher, has paid $25 million for a stake in Business Insider Inc. as the German media company seeks to expand its digital operations. Inc. founder Jeff Bezos is among the investors in the group, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier. Berlin-based Axel Springer said it will be a minority stakeholder in Business Insider, a rapidly expanding financial news site with 70 million unique visitors each month.

The German company has been increasingly investing in English-language media to tap the global market for such publications. Last year it invested in Silicon Valley-based Web magazine Ozy, and set up a venture with Washington-based Politico to develop a European issue of the political website.

“With this investment we are strengthening our footprint in the English speaking digital media market,” Andreas Wiele, Axel Springer’s president of marketing and classified ad models, said in a statement. Wiele will represent the German publisher on the board of Business Insider.

As part of an increasing focus on digital business, Axel Springer last year acquired a 20 percent stake in Qwant, a Paris-based search engine that focuses on data privacy, and in 2013 started a paid-for online version of Bild, Germany’s largest paper. The publisher is also at the forefront of a campaign seeking to reduce Google Inc.’s influence over the media business in Europe.

Business Insider, co-founded in 2007 by current Chief Executive Officer Henry Blodget as a Web-only business publication, has grown to have seven international editions, including the U.K, Australia and Singapore. Bezos led a group of investors who bought a $5 million stake in the publication in 2013.

Representatives for Bezos in the U.S. and for Amazon in the U.K. couldn’t immediately be reached by phone.

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