Apax in Talks to Sell Israeli Ecommerce Company Zap to Axel Springer
The private equity firm is looking to sell Zap for nearly four times the price it paid in 2015
Update: In an email sent to Zap Group employees on Wednesday and reviewed by Calcalist, Zap Group CEO Ilan Zachi referred to the report by Calcalist.
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Referring to the possibility of selling the company or some of its shares, Mr. Zachi said “the process is part of the routine job of shareholders and is managed by the group.”
“The company will continue with its work as shareholders continue to deal with the matter of their ownership,” he further added.
Apax Partners (Israel) Ltd., a subsidiary of London-based private equity firm Apax Partners Worldwide LLP, is looking to sell ownership of Israel's leading price comparison website Zap for $129 million (NIS 450 million), one person familiar with the matter who spoke on conditions of anonymity told Calcalist.
Established in 2000, Zap enables users to compare the prices of over 1,300 businesses selling electronics, furniture, baby products and other verticals.
A bidding tender has been underway for the past few weeks, following several inquiries Apax received regarding Zap, the person said. Currently, the person added, the leading bidder is Berlin-headquartered Axel Springer SE, Europe's largest digital publishing house.
In response to a request for comment, an Axel Springer spokesman said the company does not comment on market speculations. An Apax spokesman declined to comment.
In 2014 Axel Springer paid $228 million for Coral-Tell Ltd., the operator of Israel's biggest classifieds portal yad2. The acquisition was made through Axel Springer Digital Classifieds GmbH, a joint venture of Axel Springer (85%) and growth equity firm General Atlantic (15%) established in 2012. In 2015, the companies bought through yad2 a 70% stake in Saknai Net Ltd., the operator of Drushim, one of Israel's largest job classifieds websites.
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In 2015, when Apax bought Zap Group for an undisclosed sum estimated at around $37 million, Axel Springer was one of the leading bidders for the group, but backed down due to expectations that Israel's antitrust regulator would move to block the deal.
According to the person familiar with the matter, in a presentation shown to potential buyers Apax highlights the changes it has made at Zap since 2015. These include a management makeover, consolidation of digital commerce assets and the development of a data service targeting small and medium businesses. According to Apax's financial reports, Zap was worth $69 million at the end of 2016.