Helsinki Media Company, one of the merging parties in Sanoma-WSOY, has today closed a deal on behalf of its wholly owned Norwegian subsidiary Helsinki Media Company A/S to acquire 10.3 % of the shares and votes in the Norwegian A-pressen ASA. The consideration was NOK 95.8 million (FIM 62.5 million). The company's Board of Directors has given its consent for the transaction as required by A-pressen's Articles of Association.
A-pressen is the second largest publicly listed media corporation in Norway with net sales of FIM 1.5 billion on an annual level. The corporation owns a large number of local daily papers, many of them leaders in their respective market areas. The company owns one third of the Norwegian commercial television channel TV2, and through TV2 a 16.4 per cent interest in TVNorge. The corporation also owns shares in several local television channels, and participates in new media operations through its subsidiaries and associated companies.
A-pressen's result trend has been declining in 1996 - 1998. The net result for 1997 was approximately FIM 12 million. The declining result is partly attributable to TV2's program investments, the unprofitable operations of the local TV companies and certain city papers, reorganisations of the printing companies and production problems at the new printing press.
The purpose of the transaction is to ensure long-term strategic co-operation and enhance shareholder value. There is a good opportunity to value creation by co-operating with the major shareholders.
A-pressen operates in the same core industries as Sanoma Corporation and Helsinki Media, and has grown considerably in the past ten years through acquisitions of local daily papers and diversification from newspaper publishing to new media and TV operations.
A-pressen represents 19 per cent of the total circulation of Norwegian daily papers. Its associated company TV2 has conquered a significant position in the Norwegian commercial TV industry. The other shareholders of TV2 are the Danish media corporation Egmont and the Norwegian media corporation Schibsted.
Additional information: Mr. Jaakko Rauramo, Chairman of the Board, Helsinki Media; tel. +358 9 122 4630.
WERNER SÖDERSTRÖM CORPORATION - WSOY
Aarno Heinonen Executive Vice President
HELSINKI MEDIA COMPANY OY
Jaakko Rauramo Chairman of the Board of Directors
Distribution: Helsinki Stock Exchange, principal media