European online classifieds is a $8bn market with roughly $50bn in combined company value. Two significant deals happened in one week.
Naspers & Avito: $3.8 billion deal
Internet-giant Naspers last week acquired an additional 29% stake in Russian online marketplace Avito for $1.2 bn, bringing its ownership to 99.6%. The implied valuation was $3.8 bn. This means multiples were 12x sales and 19x EBITDA which is in line with other marketplace multiples (Zoopla 20x EBITDA, ,Rightmove 20x, Idealista 17x, Trovit 14x, Anuntis 17x, Scout 15x, Trader Media 13x).
In 2015 Naspers had increased its ownership from 17% to 68% for $1.2 billion with an implied $2.7 billion valuation (20x sales and 40x EBITDA). Avito has been growing 40% per year annually since 2015 and kept EBITDA margins at around 65% (margins that high are not uncommon for dominant classifieds marketplaces). The impled valuation of Avito has grown by 13% per (the multiple has decreased somewhat as the growth is likely to taper off somewhat going forward.
Naspers had been involved in Avito since 2013, when Avito was formed by a merger between Slando.ru and OLX.ru, two rivals that were both backed by Naspers. Also check out this insider’s perspective by Fred Destin and Sonali de Rycker from Accel Partners about Avito’s history leading up to the sale to Naspers.
Schibsted & Milanuncios: €1 billion deal
In 2014, Schibsted Classified Media Spain acquired Milanuncios, the classifieds company founded by Ricardo García Cobaleda, for €100 million, of which €50 million in cash and 10% of Schibsted Classified Media Spain valued at another €50 million (that group also includes Segundamano, Fotocasa and Infojobs). Now it has been disclosed (by Dircomfidencial) that Schibsted has paid €100 million to acquire that 10% stake in Schibsted owned by the founder. This means that Schibsted Classified Media Spain increased in value from €500 million to €1 billion since 2014, an impressive 19% annual increase.
Meanwhile, Scout24 has rejected a $5.3 billion takeover offer from private equity firms Hellman & Friedman and Blackstone. The implied EBITDA multiple (~15x) is well below the multiple that Zoopla was able to achieve.
What next in marketplaces?
The next ten years in online classifieds are likely to be different than the past ten, with big opportunities ahead. But also requires a sense of urgency is needed to act on them. New models create opportunities to take greater ownership of the transaction and provide more value, as our recent deep-dive report on marketplaces has shown: