Axel Springer buying TotalJobs for £110 million in digital classifieds offensive

Reed Business Information’s sell-offs really aren’t over yet.
Now it is selling the UK’s number-two job classifieds site, TotalJobs, to German publisher Axel Springer’s equivalent StepStone for a hefty £110 million ($175 million) (announcement).
Springer has been piling heavily in to online-native classifieds, buying a host of such sites, including French property ads site SeLoger for a whopping €633 million (now $834 million).
Last month, it targeted “a growth offensive in the area of digital classifieds”, bundling its existing portfolio of sites including StepStone in to a new JV, Axel Springer Digital Classifieds, with the General Atlantic Atlantic investment group. Springer holds 70 percent of the JV (announcement).
Reed Elsevier abandoned efforts to sell RBI as credit lines to potential buyers tightened in 2008, leaving RBI to sell off many of its own business magazines since.
That process had looked like coming to an end, but RBI last month said it wanted to sell even Hollywood’s iconic Variety magazine.
The strategy that unites the ongoing divestures is the same furrow now being ploughed by several B2B media operators. It wants to focus more on providing useful, data-driven services to subscribers than on giving them content-filled magazines and websites.
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Sales of classified ads have been falling in the UK through tough economic times, especially at consumer news publishers.
Most of those – including Trinity Mirror, A&N Media and Johnston Press – have long since branched out from print small ads and now operate several specialist job websites like TotallyLegal and big-brand sites like Jobsite.
But none of them rank the top five UK job sites for traffic, according to comScore. The first sign of a crack may have appeared last week when Jobsite owner A&N Media sold its car classifieds site to U.S. Autotrader owner Manheim.
TotalJobs audited traffic stands at a decade record of 289,072 daily average browsers, with an average 62,453 actual job applications made through the site on average every day in January (source: ABC).
Now StepStone gets a first foothold to the UK.