Boulogne, 27 April 2018
TF1 GROUP FINALISES THE ACQUISITION OF THE AUFEMININ GROUP
FROM AXEL SPRINGER
OLIVIER ABECASSIS APPOINTED CHAIRMAN & CEO OF THE AUFEMININ GROUP
Having obtained the necessary clearances from all the relevant authorities, the TF1 group and Axel Springer are delighted that they have today finalised the acquisition by the TF1 group of the majority equity interest held by the Axel Springer (78.07% of the capital and 77.94% of the voting rights – at a price of €39.47 per share) in the aufeminin group (EBITDA of €21.3 million in 2017, on revenue of €113 million). The TF1 group will file a mandatory simplified tender offer for the remaining shares at the same price.
Following today’s meeting of the aufeminin group Board of Directors, the TF1 group announces the appointment of four directors to replace the directors who represented Axel Springer: Gilles Pélisson, TF1 group Chairman & CEO; Philippe Denery, CFO; Olivier Abecassis, CDO; and Christine Bellin, VP Strategy, Development & Transformation. The two independent directors of the aufeminin group, Marie Pic-Pâris Allavena and Karen Heumann, will remain on the Board.
Olivier Abecassis has been appointed as Chairman & CEO of the aufeminin group, succeeding Marie-Laure Sauty de Chalon who is leaving the aufeminin group concomitantly with the divestment by Axel Springer and her own resignation from the aufeminin Board of Directors.
Olivier Abecassis will be supported by the existing management team – Agnès Alazard and Christophe Decker (Deputy CEOs), and Patrick Caetano (CFO) – as they continue to deliver on the strategy implemented by the aufeminin group team, focused on international expansion and accelerated growth in social e-commerce and programmatic advertising.
Olivier Abecassis remains a member of the TF1 group Executive Committee.
With the aufeminin group, the TF1 group has acquired an international digital player with a brand portfolio and unique female-orientated content, that will bring added momentum to TF1’s digital transformation.
The aufeminin group has built an original revenue diversification model around its communities, in particular aufeminin, MyLittle Paris, Marmiton and Livingly Media. Its platforms and social networks now host many communities from around the world (France, Germany, Spain, Italy, the United Kingdom, the United States and Japan).
Its business model is based on three strategic pillars: programmatic advertising, social e-commerce (via the My Little Box, Beautiful Box, Gretel box and Gambettes box brands in particular); and marketing solutions including brand content, influence marketing, events and social reach.
With aufeminin, the TF1 group will be able to offer innovative solutions to brands based on awareness, affinity and influence, thanks to:
- the proximity of aufeminin’s verticals to those already carried by the TF1 group through MinuteBuzz, Studio 71, TF1 Digital Factory and Neweb;
- an enhanced offering by the TF1 group for female targets in which aufeminin has acknowledged expertise, iconic brands and an outstanding track record;
- the pulling power of TV, in support of aufeminin group brands;
- the development of video content to give greater visibility to advertisers;
- in-depth understanding of the communities, and of their behaviour and expectations.
Gilles Pélisson, Chairman & CEO of the TF1 group, says: “This acquisition is a decisive step forward in the transformation of the TF1 group. Thanks to the innovations developed by aufeminin, we are enhancing our ability to reach every audience specially female audience via powerful and unifying verticals, and to offer new communication solutions to brands. I am delighted with the appointment of Olivier Abecassis as Chairman & CEO of the aufeminin group. His in-depth knowledge of the digital universe and the issues facing our industry, coupled with his international experience, make him ideally suited to succeed in his new role alongside the talented teams at aufeminin.”
Dr. Andreas Wiele, President Classifieds Media, Axel Springer SE, says: “Marie-Laure Sauty de Chalon and her colleagues at aufeminin have together created one of the finest digital success stories in France and Europe. Aufeminin’s strong brands have changed the lives of millions of women for the better, across the globe, helping drive a fourfold increase in the group’s audiences, revenue and profits. My warmest thanks go to Marie-Laure, the management and each member of the aufeminin team for their fantastic achievements.”
Evercore acted as financial adviser on this transaction. The TF1 group was assisted by Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier as legal adviser and Rothschild both as financial adviser and sponsorbank.
Clifford Chance acted as legal adviser to Axel Springer.
Biography: Olivier Abecassis
Born in November 1973, Olivier Abecassis is a graduate of the French National Institute of Telecommunications. He began his career in 1996 when he was involved in the launch of the French satellite broadcaster TPS. At the end of 1998 he joined TF1, becoming Director of New Technologies in 2004.
From 2006, he piloted all of the TF1 group’s digital developments, launching the MYTF1 catch-up video site, now the industry leader in terms of video views; he was appointed CEO of e-TF1, the Group’s digital subsidiary, in 2010. He oversaw the 2006 acquisition of an equity stake in Overblog, and led its 2010 merger with Teads (then called eBuzzing); he remained as a director of Teads until it was sold to Altice in 2017.
In 2016, Olivier Abecassis was appointed Vice President, Innovation and Digital of the TF1 group, tasked with the digitalisation of the Group and with rolling out its digital strategy. All broadcasting and digital technologies are under his responsibility, as are information systems.
He also oversees the Group’s start-up incubator, which aims to anticipate trends in media use and monetisation, and in early 2018 secured a partnership with the Station F campus.
Since 2016, Olivier Abecassis has initiated the acquisitions of a majority stake in Bonzai Digital, now TF1 Digital Factory, in March 2016; a stake in Wibbitz, an Israeli start-up behind a text-to-video solution; and a majority stake in MinuteBuzz, a social media platform founded in 2010.
In 2017, Olivier Abecassis oversaw the creation of an international alliance between the German group ProSiebenSat.1 and the TF1 group, with the latter taking an equity stake in Studio71 (the world no.3 MCN) and becoming the operator of Studio71 in France. He was also involved in the June 2017 launch of the EBX pan-European airtime sales agency, formed out of a partnership between TF1, ProSiebenSat.1 and (in Italy and Spain) the Mediaset group. Olivier Abecassis sits on the boards of MinuteBuzz, Studio71, Wibbitz and EBX.
About the TF1 group (Euronext Paris: ISIN FR0000054900)
The TF1 group is the leading private-sector unencrypted television broadcaster in France. It broadcasts five complementary unencrypted channels (TF1, TMC, TFX, TF1 Séries Films and LCI), and four quality pay-TV theme channels (TV Breizh, Histoire, Ushuaïa and Serieclub, the last of which is 50% owned) to meet special-interest demand.
The Group is adding a high-powered digital dimension to its channels, via exclusive content on MYTF1 and video-on-demand offers via MYTF1VOD and TFOU MAX.
TF1 Publicité, the Group’s advertising airtime sales arm, offers advertisers the combined benefits of access to mass-market television channels, digital affinity targeting and innovative brand content solutions. It also sells advertising slots on French independent radio stations and M Radio, on Discovery Communications channels (such as Eurosport and Discovery Channel), and on numerous websites.
In conjunction with its core business, the TF1 group is also present in the production and distribution of content. The Group has recently acquired Newen to accelerate the international expansion of production and distribution.
The TF1 group has created a large range of complementary businesses in key areas such as entertainment and leisure with TF1 Entertainment (board games, music and live show production, licences and publishing); the film industry with TF1 Films Production and TF1 Studio; and home shopping with Téléshopping.
TF1 is keenly aware of its responsibilities to society, and through its “TF1 Initiatives” approach is committed to instigating and enhancing actions to promote diversity and solidarity and to protect the environment.
About Axel Springer (DE0005501357 SPR)
Axel Springer is Europe’s leading digital publisher. With headquarters in Berlin, the company is active in more than 40 countries with subsidiaries, joint ventures, and licenses. Axel Springer SE is divided into three operating segments: Classifieds Media, News Media and Marketing Media. The company employs more than 15,000 people worldwide.
About aufeminin (Euronext Paris, compartment B – ISIN: FR0004042083, Ticker: FEM)
A leading creator of communities, aufeminin is a global media group present in over 20 countries in Europe, North Africa, North America and Latin America. Founded in 1999 to explore what a media group can do for women, the Group now includes iconic brands such as aufeminin, Marmiton, My Little Paris, Merci Alfred, Onmeda, EtoileCasting, Netmums, Zimbio, StyleBistro, Lonny and Livingly Media.