Ringier and Axel Springer Switzerland to form joint venture

29 Dec 2014

Ringier and Axel Springer Switzerland to form joint venture

Just before the season holidays another quite surprising news echoed from Switzerland, that might have consequences for the classifieds market: Swiss still family-owned media company Ringier and German Axel Springer announced plans to establish a further joint-venture, in which each party shall hold a 50 percent stake.[hide_from level=”Premium”]

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[/hide_from][show_to level=”Premium”] Both companies are already engaged together in Eastern Europe through the Ringier Axel Springer Media AG.

Both companies signed a letter of intend in mid-December as announced by Ringier, to merge in a joint company all magazine titles Ringier publishes in the German-speaking and French-speaking regions of Switzerland, along with all their online editions, as well as Le Temps, Ringier’s French-language quality newspaper. German Axel Springer, which is a strong classifieds player in Germany (Immonet, Stepstone)  will bring in all Switzerland operations into the new joint venture.

In its press note Ringier speaks of the intention to achieve a significant improvement in their competitive position in the market for Swiss readers and advertisers and that there will be a particular focus on enforcing digitalization of the print brands.

Furthermore both companies announced that the final contractual details for the new joint venture, which will operate under the name of Ringier Axel Springer Medien Schweiz from Zurich, will be worked out the next weeks. A possible merger is also still depending of the approval by the two supervisory boards and the Swiss Competition Commission. Designated as CEO of the planned joint venture is Michael Voss, at the moment CEO Publishing and Entertainment at Ringier AG, while from Axel Springer Ralph Büchi, President International at Axel Springer SE, is appointed as Chairman of Board of Directors.

By joining forces in this way, both companies said they plan to extend their since July 2010 existing successful partnership in Eastern Europe, which comprises also several online classifieds operations in Poland, Hungary, Serbia and Slovakia.

What makes this announced new partnership between Ringier and Axel Springer more interesting is that, while Axel Springer has no classifieds assets in Switzerland – bringing in only online subsidiary Amiado Group that operates with Students.ch a college platform with a rooming pinboard, and two nightlife & lifestyle portals (Usgang.ch, Partyguide.ch). Ringier on the other side has invested the last years massively into digitalization through a partnership with Tamedia in job classifieds (leader JobCloud AG), the majority acquisition of Scout24 Switzerland in January 2014 and the afterward sale of 49 percent of online classifieds leader Scout24 Schweiz to US investor KKR in July.

The Swiss classifieds market is currently in a consolidation stage with persisting rumors that one of the international strong classifieds players, Naspers, considering to abandon the costly leadership battle between Ringier, Tamedia and Schibsted, while looking for a buyer for its Switzerland’s leading e-commerce marketplace Ricardo.ch. Tamedia and Ringier have both stated they would be interested in a possible acquisition of the leading marketplace Ricardo.ch and the free classifieds platform OLX.ch.

So this new partnership between Axel Springer, with a large international portfolio in e-business and classifieds in other countries, and Ringier, can be interpreted as a possible move to get into a better position for a possible takeover of Ricardo AG from Naspers.[/show_to]


Cristina Costa

Cristina Costa is a journalist with long experience in the media agency business as well. As a writer / analyst for the AIM Group and CIR, she focuses on Spain, Portugal, Switzerland and Austria. Before joining the AIM Group, she worked as a media planning assistant for Aegis Media and as researcher for a German, public television station, ZDF. As a journalist, she worked in Germany for regional newspapers, a radio broadcaster, and a news agency. Cristina has a master’s degree in Journalism and also in communication science, film science and Portuguese. She is mainly focused on new online media developments and reports about renewable energy.