Will XING be acquired by LinkedIn?

29 Oct, 2012

German LinkedIn rival Xing might become the focus of a bidding war between its current main stakeholder Burda AG, the German publishing company, and LinkedIn itself, according to German analyst Heike Pauls.

Burda recently increased its stake in XING to almost 40 percent, which triggered a mandatory offer to buy the rest of the company. Burda is offering 44 euros per share for the remaining actions, which would value XING at 240 million euros. Because of this low price, Commerzbank analyst Heike Pauls told the German newspaper Die Welt that she thought this valued Xing too low and that she expected a possible counteroffer from Xing rival LinkedIn: “Too cheap for a growth stock with consolidation upside. We still think LinkedIn may come forward with a better offer at some point in time.”

Despite her warning, Xing founder Lars Hinrichs (currently HackFwd) is leaving no doubt about whether to accept the Burda offer:

Xing still dominates LinkedIn in Germany, Austria and Switzerland

LinkedIn currently has about 175 million members globally but in Germany, Austria and Switzerland it lags behind Xing: in the DACH region (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) Xing has about 5 million members, with LinkedIn only 2 million. Read more about their market share in this presentation:

LinkedIn vs Xing from James Glazebrook

About Xing and Xing founder Lars Hinrichs

Lars Hinrichs, Xing, HackFwd

Lars Hinrichs, founder of Xing and later HackFwd

Xing was founded in 2003 by Hinrichs. Back then it was called the Open Business Club, a place where business people, students and job seekers could manage their contacts and network. Hinrichs took Xing AG public in December 2006 and turned it into a profitable venture with annual sales of 35 million € and a healthy 35% margin (ebitda).  He sold the majority of his stake to Burda in 2009 and founded HackFwd in 2010.

Spotted by @siddyjobe (thanks!)

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About the author

Raf Weverbergh

Editor of whiteboard. Raf Weverbergh was a magazine journalist whose work appeared in magazines like Rolling Stone, Playboy, Mail on Sunday, Publico and South China Morning Post. He is the co-founder of FINN, a corporate communications agency where he advises startups and multinationals on their PR and Mustr, the easiest media database for PR professionals. You can contact him on Twitter, Linkedin or Skype (rafweverbergh).

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