The ascent of Marc Walder
Marc Walder, previously CEO of Ringier Schweiz, succeeded Christian Unger to the post of CEO of Ringier AG on 5 April. Walder pushed the diversification of the company and accelerated the move towards digitalisation. Ringier’s digital activities were consolidated in the newly established unit Ringier Digital. The new unit included Scout24 Schweiz, Anibis, gate24 and baugate24, the IT service providers Xmedia and Geomatic, the e-commerce platforms Geschenkidee.ch and DeinDeal.ch, the IT service providers Previon and Ringier Studios, and Ringier’s recently launched activities in Africa.
Publishing continued to expand as well: the Blick group expanded its geographical reach with Blick am Abend, enlarging its distribution area by 12 cities, and Blick.ch becoming the first news portal in Switzerland to crack the 500 million-click threshold. In September, Ringier and Tamedia announced their joint acquisition of jobs.ch Holding AG, a Swiss online job platform that had since passed into the ownership of a US holding company. In November, the Competition Commission approved the deal – it was the largest internet deal to date in Switzerland. Qualipet Digital and Omnimedia were also added to the Ringier portfolio. In 2015, the two companies were sold for strategic reasons. Following approval by anti-trust authorities, in November Ringier Axel Springer Media AG acquired a 75% stake in the Polish online portal Onet.pl. The previous sole owner, TVN S.A., one of the largest TV broadcasters in Poland, retained a 25% stake. The acquisition of the largest Romanian online job portal eJobs.ro completed the year of major acquisitions.
Ringier had by this time invested CHF 1.4 billion in the transformation of its business and generated some 25% of total group earnings through digital products.