Deutsche Telekom Said to Kick Off Web Classifieds Unit Sale

Deutsche Telekom AG, Germany’s biggest phone company, is set to kick off the sale of its Scout24 Holding GmbH digital classifieds business, said three people familiar with the process.

Initial information documents will be sent to potential strategic and financial buyers at the beginning of June, said the people. Deutsche Telekom is mulling the sale of a minority stake or the whole business, and may seek a valuation of as much as 2 billion euros ($2.6 billion), they said.

The sales documents, known as teasers, will probably go to strategic buyers including Axel Springer AG, eBay Inc. and Yahoo! Inc. as well as buyout firms including KKR & Co., Apax Partners LLP, Advent International Corp. and EQT Partners AB, they said. Deutsche Telekom, based in Bonn, could also team up with one of the buyers to help expand Scout24, they said.

Europe’s phone companies are looking to offload Internet and content businesses as they seek to raise money for building high-speed mobile networks. Telefonica SA of Spain last year sold its stake in online travel agency Rumbo, while Telecom Italia SpA divested a television unit in March.

Scout24 has 13 million monthly users and operates in 22 countries providing online classifieds for cars, properties, jobs, travel and relationships, according to its website.

Deutsche Telekom spokesman Andreas Leigers referred to previous comments stating that the company is conducting an ongoing strategic review of Scout24, and that no decision has been made. He declined to comment further on “speculation.”

Deutsche Telekom added 0.2 percent to close at 9.47 euros in Frankfurt trading. The stock has risen 10 percent this year, valuing the company at 40.9 billion euros.

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