Ringier Axel Springer Media AG extends its country portfolio to include Hungary

Ringier AG and Axel Springer SE intend to integrate their operations in Hungary into the Ringier Axel Springer Media AG structure. The name of the planned new Budapest-based Hungarian entity will be Ringier Axel Springer Hungary. In addition to Blikk, Hungary's leading tabloid brand, its portfolio will encompass a range of successful women's magazines and the licensed Hungarian editions of international magazine titles such as Auto BILD, Glamour and Geo.

As a pre-condition for authorizing the transfer of these businesses into the Ringier/Axel Springer joint venture, the Hungarian competition regulator requires each of the two companies to dispose of a portion of their existing Hungarian interests. These will be sold to VCP Capital Partners Unternehmensberatungs AG (Vienna Capital Partners). In addition to the supra-regional daily newspaper Népszabadság and the Világgazdaság business newspaper title, Vienna Capital Partners will also acquire several regional newspapers as well as a number of sports, women’s and young people’s magazines.

Ringier Axel Springer Hungary’s portfolio will comprise titles which are not only well positioned in the market but also enjoy very good digital-media prospects. The new entity’s brands will be predominantly in tabloid and women’s titles and will include the Blikk tabloid brand, which will be celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2014.

The Blikk group’s titles include Blikk, Hungary’s leading daily tabloid, and its blikk.hu website, as well the country’s largest-selling Sunday newspaper Vasarnapi Blikk, the Blikk Nők women’s magazine title and other line extensions. In addition, the portfolio will also include a number of women’s magazine titles, TV magazines and the licensed Hungarian editions of international titles such as GlamourGeo and Auto BILD as well as their associated online versions. The Ringier Kiado Kft. printing works – the largest newspaper-printing plant in Hungary – will now become part of the Vienna Capital Partners portfolio.
The Nyomda Kft. newspaper-printing plant be owned by the new Ringier Axel Springer Hungary entity.

The Chief Executive Officer of Axel Springer Hungary will be Dr. Jozsef Bayer, Axel Springer’s current CEO in Hungary. Attila Mihók, the current General Manager of Ringier Hungary, will become the new CEO of Vienna Capital Partners’ Hungarian operations.

As Florian Fels, the CEO of Ringier AG’s Publishing division puts it, “This transaction has achieved an excellent, future-oriented solution, both for the ongoing development of the Hungarian businesses and for their staff. It will create two strong, new media enterprises, each managing a homogeneous portfolio of activities. These enterprises will not only ensure the continuing diversity of Hungary’s media, but will also pursue their individual objectives in accordance with their specific publishing philosophies. My special thanks go to Attila Mihók and his team at Ringier Hungary for the professionalism and commitment they have demonstrated in overseeing this challenging assignment.”

In the words of Mark Dekan, Ringier Axel Springer Media AG’s CEO, “For us as a group, the addition of Hungary to our country portfolio provides access to another attractive market in Central Europe. The principal advantage for the Hungarian operation is that it will be able to benefit from our joint venture’s technological and journalistic expertise. Ringier Axel Springer Media AG has significantly reorganized its portfolio of businesses over the last 15 months. Currently, our digital operations are already generating more than half of our revenues.”

The completion of this transaction is conditional upon authorization by Hungary’s competition and media regulatory authorities.

Ringier AG, Corporate Communications