German publishers want to buy Xing, dump online games

German news and magazines publishers are strong digital investors. Now two of them are making M&A moves in opposite directions, suggesting the market is more mature than just a single definition of “digital”.

  • Magazine publisher Burda, which owns 39 percent of LinkedIn rival Xing, is offering to buy the rest of the professional social network for €44 per share (€147 million, $190 million), reports FR.
  • But Bild publisher and online advertising operator Axel Springer is selling its multiplayer online game portal Gamigo to focus on its content portals, marketing and classifieds portals (announcement).

Burda’s business bet

Hamburg-based, Nasdaq-listed Xing is a big player in the workplace social network stakes, but still trails LinkedIn, which is now expanding fast in to content-centric engagement and is unfolding redesigned profiles.

Burda’s lifestyle magazine activities include the web portal of its Chip computer title, whilst the group also holds stakes in the Tomorrow Focus ad company and its Burda Digital Ventures investment vehicle – an UberMedia backer. With titles across parenting, cars and fashion, Xing is an unusual fit in the company.

Games served their purpose

As well as online, mobile and tablet channels for its news and lifestyle publishing, Axel 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 and TotalJobs for £110 million. The publisher also operates (auto classifieds), (real estate) and (e-tail).

Now it is selling Gamigo, which it bought in 2009, to Düsseldorf-based gaming investor Samarion to “focus on core competences in its digital business”, the group says.

Gamigo started life in 2000 as a gaming magazine but began publishing its own games themselves.

Since 2009, Springer has been busy beginning to charge for its news content on mobile and tablet devices. Ironically, the company has credited Gamigo – which has sold virtual gifts – with having showed it the way on content charging.