Uber has a new shareholder very different from its usual institutional backers: Axel Springer, the German media company that owns Business Insider, and Germany’s largest newspaper Bild, among other publications. Neither Uber nor the media giant are getting specific about how much money was invested, or exactly when, but Axel Springer did clarify to German tech news site t3n.de (via Handselblatt) that the nature of the investment wasn’t strategic – this was strictly a financial deal, as any traditional VC would make.
This isn’t the only investment of this type that Axel Springer has made in technology companies: It announced a stake in AirBnB in 2012, which was termed at the time as “very minor” in size. The Uber investment is thought to be along similar lines, according to the t3n.de report. A Springer spokesperson told The Wall Street Journal’s Friedrich Geiger that the amount was “minimal,” and also noted that the publishing company has actually made early-stage investments in around 100 companies.
Obviously, a publisher owning a stake in companies which will be covered within its publication is bound to raise eyebrows, which is likely why Axel Springer is downplaying the size of the stake, and bringing up its other similar financial arrangements. Of course, our parent company is apparently looking to merge with gigantic companies we cover all the time to form a monolithic media megacorporation, so what can you do.
We’re looking to track down the specific size of the Axel Springer stake in the ride hailing company, and will get back to you when we find out more.