Sanoma sells Finnish online classifieds to Schibsted for $211 million

Finland's Sanoma has agreed to sell its online classifieds business, Oikotie, to Norway's Schibsted in a deal valuing the business at 185 million euros ($211 million), both companies said late on Thursday.

July 16 (Reuters) - Finland's Sanoma SAA1V.HE has agreed to sell its online classifieds business, Oikotie, to Norway's Schibsted SBSTA.OL in a deal valuing the business at 185 million euros ($211 million), both companies said late on Thursday.

Schibsted, which already owns Finland's generalist online marketplace Tori, expects to reach 44 million monthly visits by adding Oikotie, a job search site with a strong market share in real estate, it said.

"With this acquisition we have a unique opportunity to widen our scope here and show our long-term commitment to the Finnish market," said Schibsted CEO Kristin Skogen Lund.

Oikotie's 2019 net sales were 27.6 million euros. The deal's enterprise value implies an EBITDA multiple of about 19.6 based on pro-forma earnings in 2019, the companies said.

Oikotie and Tori will continue as independent brands.

Schibsted media group also owns online marketplaces in Sweden and Norway, as well as the majority of Oslo-listed online classifieds firm Adevinta ADEV.OL which has operations in more than 15 countries.

Sanoma said it plans to use the proceeds for additional acquisitions in education business.

"Going forward, we will be having EUR 400-500 million headroom for future M&A, where our focus will be on growing especially our learning business," Sanoma Chief Executive Susan Duinhoven said in a statement.

($1 = 0.8788 euro)

(Reporting by Tarmo Virki in Tallinn and Nerijus Adomaitis in Oslo Editing by Matthew Lewis)

((tarmo.virki@thomsonreuters.com; +372 564 4562 ;))

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