Carlyle invests in European online advertising

The Carlyle Group has made a fourth investment from its European technology fund, taking a minority stake in German online advertising business Global Media.

Global private equity firm The Carlyle Group has acquired a “significant minority share” of German web marketing company Global Media for an undisclosed sum.

The Carlyle Group declined to comment on the price paid for its share of Global Media.

Founded in 1996, Munich-headquartered Global Media delivers a range of online services including search engine optimisation, key word advertising and online media planning. The business has 200 customers across Europe, including AOL, eBay and lastminute.com.

Global Media has subsidiaries in the UK, France, Italy, Scandinavia, Russia and Korea and employs 105 personnel. According to Carlyle, the company has grown its sales by over 100 percent in both 2004 and 2005.

Nazo Moosa, associate director at Carlyle, said in a statement: “We believe that the European online advertising market is at an inflection point – as what was formerly a cottage industry professionalises and consolidates into a multi-billion industry with a few leading players.”

According to Carlyle, the online advertising market is expected to grow by 25 percent in Europe by 2007, driven by the increasing penetration of broadband internet access, the increased use and acceptance of online advertising and rising levels of e-commerce across all geographies.

The transaction is the fourth investment made through Carlyle’s European technology fund, Carlyle Europe Technology Partners (CETP), which held an interim close of €101 million ($127 million) in December and is chasing a €200 million hard cap, according to SEC filings. The vehicle is understood to be fast approaching a final close.

CETP previously acquired an 80 percent stake in Transics, a Belgian fleet management solutions business, in May; UC4 Software, an Austrian job scheduling and workload automation software company, was purchased in March. The vehicle’s debut investment was the €30 million purchase of NP Aerospace, a UK manufacturer of composite moulded products for the aerospace, medical imaging, automotive and defence industries, last September.