Management buy-out of Cicero and Monopol in Germany

The two premium titles Cicero and Monopol are changing hands: Cicero editor-in-chief Christoph Schwennicke and deputy editor-in-chief Alexander Marguier will take over the two high-end products as of 1 May 2016 as part of a management buy-out.

It is now 12 years since the launch of Cicero and 10 since the subsequent acquisition of Monopol; however, it has not been possible to make Ringier’s small publishing unit in Germany economically viable. A fundamental restructuring of the two titles was thus considered from various angles.

With the handover of Cicero and Monopol to the experienced Cicero team, a promising solution has been found. Editor-in-chief Christoph Schwennicke and his deputy Alexander Marguier will take over the two magazines and their related assets as of 1 May 2016, and manage the publications under their new company Res Publica Verlags GmbH, with start-up support from Ringier. The medium-term aim is to consolidate the two titles financially, in print and online, and in the long term to steer them towards a successful future.

Holger Liebs, editor-in-chief at Monopol, and Anne Sasse, co-managing director of Ringier Publishing GmbH in Germany, will leave the company to take up new challenges. Co-managing director Thorsten Thierhoff will support the new company in its operational publishing activities until 2017.

The consumer advertising business of both magazines will be transferred to the service provider iq media marketing GmbH in Düsseldorf as of 18 February 2016. Through the use of marketing synergies and with lower costs, the advertising business should become more profitable. Monopol’s art market will continue to be operated independently from Berlin. The restructuring will lead to several job losses in the Munich and Berlin advertising divisions.

The editorial team will also experience cuts. The redundancies will be handled by the current owner, Ringier, which will do its best to cushion their impact with fair severance packages.

“Selling, or even discontinuing, the magazines would certainly have been a more cost-effective solution – but also one devoid of imagination and a journalistic heart. I’m therefore delighted that we have found this new path, which safeguards the long-term existence of these premium products with the journalistic quality readers have come to expect. I thank Holger Liebs, Anne Sasse and Thorsten Thierhoff for their substantial and highly professional contribution to our presence in Germany and wish them all the best for the future.”

Marc Walder, CEO Ringier AG

“Both titles are sophisticated magazines. Cicero will continue as a socio-political discussion magazine across all channels, including print, online and events. Monopol, too, will stick with what it knows, while increasing its focus on contemporary art. We will ensure the journalism of both titles remains relevant and translate direct decision-making processes and increased cost-efficiency into improved profitability.”

Cicero editor-in-chief Christoph Schwennicke on the plans he and Alexander Marguier have made post management buy-out

Cicero – the magazine for political culture, is a sophisticated and opinion-shaping writer’s magazine. Every month, influential contemporary personalities and renowned journalists stake out their positions on important issues from the worlds of politics, business and culture.

Monopol – the magazine for culture and life, has established itself as an innovative art and lifestyle magazine. Every month, Monopol presents thought-provoking, expert analysis of the hot topics among the creative and lifestyle elite.

Ringier AG, Corporate Communications