Axel Springer Agrees to Buy Business Insider for $343 Million

Hyperbolic Headlines Get a New Owner

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German media company Axel Springer agreed to buy an 88% stake in Business Insider Inc. for $343 million.

Axel Springer already owns a 9% stake in New York-based Business Insider, which runs the BusinessInsider.com website with 76 million monthly unique visitors, Berlin-based Springer said in a statement Tuesday. The deal is subject to approval by antitrust authorities.

Business Insider, co-founded in 2007 by CEO Henry Blodget as a web-only business publication, now has seven additional editions outside the U.S., including in the U.K, Australia and Singapore. In July, it introduced a new tech-focused standalone website called Tech Insider. Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos is also an investor in Business Insider after leading a group of investors who bought a $5 million stake in 2013.

The site has expanded its audience by combining speed, breadth of coverage and artfully written (but not subtle) headlines on even the most mundane subjects. Recent examples include "This is the Excel trick that will change everything about how you work with data," "This is the amazing factory where Boeing is building the last of its legendary 747s," "Andy Samberg kicks the Emmys off with an amazing opening monologue," "Salesforce ran out of hotel rooms, so it rented this cruise ship for its big annual conference -- and it looks amazing" and "No one can figure out if this girl is underwater."

"The transaction is an essential component of Axel Springer's strategy to grow with digital journalistic offerings in English-language geographies," Springer said in its statement.

-- Bloomberg News with Ad Age staff