Axel Springer, publisher of the world's most read automotive magazine, Auto Bild, will acquire a majority stake in CarWale, a leading Indian automotive portal, through its joint venture with the India Today Group.
The two companies will acquire 70.4 per cent stake in CarWale. They, however, declined to specify the investment being made.
Marc Flamme, head of New Media International, part of the Springer group, said: "We wanted to invest in India, particularly in the automotive sector looking at the market figures. The automobile industry is growing at around 30 per cent.
Besides, the country is slated to become one of the top three online markets in the world by 2015. We already have experience in the auto industry with Auto Bild, and were looking at tie-ups in the online space to complement our presence in the sector."
Axel Springer has been publishing Auto Bild in India in collaboration with India Today since 2008. The move is expected to further their interests in the digital space and to strengthen their position in the automotive segment.
Mohit Dubey, chief executive officer and co-founder of CarWale, informed: "With Axel Springer's international automotive and multimedia publishing experience, we hope to strengthen our foothold in the online space." The new alliance will explore synergies in content creation, e-commerce initiatives and media assets.
CarWale, founded in 2005, leads this market for car research and used car classified ads. By audience measures, it is the single largest media vehicle in India focused on the automotive segment across television, print and online platforms. Over 1.3 million people visit www.carwale.com every month, and 15 per cent of all of India's car buyers research their purchase on CarWale.
Axel Springer has annual revenue of $3.6 billion, with presence in 36 countries and a portfolio of 230 newspapers and magazines, and 80 online properties.