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The Insider Track

  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    German publisher Axel Springer hopes that its US ventures will help it transition from staid print company to digital pioneer.

  • Facts


    • Axel Springer, the largest publishing house in Europe, purchased Business Insider in 2015 for $442 million (€389 million).
    • The price tag was 77 percent more than Amazon founder Jeff Bezos had paid for the Washington Post two years earlier.
    • In 2016, Business Insider’s revenue grew by 30 percent to roughly $56 million. In the first three months of 2017, the website’s sales grew by 50 percent.
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Business Inside Illustrations As The Site Raised $5 Million Last Year From Venture Capitalists
Business Insider has seen reader numbers rocket in the past few years. Source: Bloomberg

Space is at a premium in Business Insider’s Manhattan office. The 400 employees sit elbow to elbow. The small kitchen is stacked to the rafters with empty cola cans. A once-full basket of fruit snacks is nearly empty. Paintings of Vikings, the business, technology and celebrity news website’s mascot, adorn the walls alongside inspirational messages: “Fewer meetings + faster” is scribbled on one.

The stuffiness reflects Business Insider’s rapid ascent. Later this year, the company that was started only eight years ago but is now competing with CNN Money for the title of America’s most widely-read financial website, will move to a bigger office with a view of the Statue of Liberty. “We’re growing as fast as we can,” said Henry Blodget, the firm’s CEO.

Axel Springer, the largest publishing house in Europe and the dominant newspaper company in Germany, purchased Business Insider in 2015 for a staggering $442 million (€389 million). At the time, this sum was 10 times more than Business Insider’s annual sales, and the takeover dumbfounded experts. “It surprised me how negative the reaction was at the time,” said Jens Müffelmann, Axel Springer’s US boss and head of digital ventures.

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