August 30, 2019 / 4:37 PM / 3 months ago

Scout24's activist shareholders gain non-executive board seat

MUNICH, Aug 30 (Reuters) - Activist investors calling for strategic change at Scout24 have won a vote to place a representative on the German classifieds group's non-executive supervisory board, ramping up pressure on management.

Christoph Brand, an executive at Swiss publisher Tamedia , won a board seat at the group's annual shareholder meeting in Munich, beating out rival candidate Mathias Hedlund, who had been proposed by Scout24's management.

Brand had been nominated by London-based Pelham Capital, which has built a 7.7% position in the group.

A takeover bid for the classifieds group by Hellman & Friedman and Blackstone failed earlier this year, despite management's recommendation that shareholders accept the offer.

That bid attracted the attention of activists including Pelham and Elliott, which has disclosed a stake of more than 7%, and which have called on the company to boost shareholder returns.

Scout24 said this month it would explore a sale or spin-off of its autos platform AutoScout24 and borrow more to buy back shares, in a concession to Elliott's demand to carve out and sell AutoScout24.

The company runs Germany's leading property portal ImmobilienScout24 and its autos operation, which competes with eBay's mobile.de, is present in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Austria.

Writing by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Jan Harvey

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