- Ringier acquires all shares in the former Swiss joint venture RASCH from Axel Springer
- Combination of the RASCH media titles with those of the Blick Group to form “Ringier Media Switzerland”
- Ladina Heimgartner appointed CEO of “Ringier Media Switzerland”
- Ringier CEO Marc Walder to head “Ringier Media International”
- Alexander Theobald to lead major strategic projects for the Ringier Group
- Axel Springer continues to focus on digital strategy
Following investments in leading media brands in Eastern Europe, Greece and Portugal, the Swiss family-owned company Ringier is expanding its activities in Switzerland by acquiring Axel Springer’s stake in the Swiss joint venture Ringier Axel Springer Schweiz (RASCH).
Ringier will thereby become the sole owner of the portfolio with a total of 20 of the widest-reach magazine and journal titles in Switzerland, including Beobachter, Handelszeitung, Bilanz, cash.ch, Tele, Schweizer Illustrierte, Landliebe, Glückspost, L’illustré, PME and others. The parties have agreed not to disclose the purchase price.
For Axel Springer, the sale is a further step in the company’s digitization strategy. In Poland, Ringier and Axel Springer will remain joint venture partners. For many years, they have jointly operated digitally focused media and classifieds brands with strong revenues and EBITDA, including Onet, Fakt, Newsweek, Forbes and Morizon.pl.
New business unit “Ringier Media Switzerland”
The well-established Swiss magazine and journal titles will be combined under the roof of “Ringier Media Switzerland” with the Blick Group and the commercialization unit Ringier Advertising.
The current CEO of Blick, Ladina Heimgartner, will head the newly created business unit “Ringier Media Switzerland” with around 1,000 employees with immediate effect. She will remain a member of the Group Executive Board of Ringier AG.
Marc Walder, CEO of Ringier AG: “After Eastern Europe, Greece and Portugal, we are investing further in leading media brands with this transaction. Bringing together the Blick Group, a leading player in news and sports, with the established, in-depth content of the Ringier Axel Springer portfolio is a perfect strategic fit. The print publications will retain their strong profiles. Digitally, we will generate significant added value for users and the advertising market thanks to the combination of great reach on the one hand and strong content on the other. I sincerely thank Axel Springer for a very successful journey together.”
Mathias Döpfner, CEO Axel Springer SE: “Already today, almost 90 percent of our revenues are generated in the digital business. It is our declared goal to establish Axel Springer as a purely digital media company. Therefore, the sale of our shares in Ringier Axel Springer Schweiz is a logical step for us, whose 20 media brands are in excellent hands with Ringier. We look forward to further cooperation and digital growth for our joint venture in Poland.
Ladina Heimgartner, CEO Ringier Media Switzerland and Head Global Media: “I would like to thank Marc Walder, the Board of Directors and the Ringier family for my election and their confidence in me. The new unit “Ringier Media Switzerland” comprises exactly the building blocks that lead media companies worldwide to success: High reach, well-established brands with strong editorial teams, relevant content and close integration between the media house and the marketing company. I’m looking forward to this challenge, which I will approach with drive and the necessary respect.”
Ladina Heimgartner has been a member of the Ringier Group Executive Board since February 2020, and currently leads the Blick Group as CEO and strategically manages Ringier’s media portfolio in Central and Eastern Europe as Head Global Media. Prior to that, she held various positions at SRG SSR for 13 years, most recently as Director of Radiotelevisiun Svizra Rumantscha and Deputy Director General. Ladina Heimgartner has a degree in German and Romance studies and an EMBA in management and leadership.
Major strategic projects under the leadership of Alexander Theobald
Alexander Theobald, the former CEO of Ringier Axel Springer Switzerland, COO of Ringier Switzerland and member of the Group Executive Board of Ringier AG, is stepping down from these mandates and taking over the management of major strategic projects for the Ringier Group, while continuing to manage Swissprinters as CEO. His first focus will be on the site development project at the Zofingen printing plant. In his new area of responsibility, Alexander Theobald will continue to report to Ringier CEO Marc Walder. Theobald has been CEO of Ringier Axel Springer Schweiz AG and COO Ringier Switzerland since April 2020, and was previously CEO of the Blick Group from 2016 to 2020. He has also been COO Ringier Switzerland since 2016.
Marc Walder: “Alexander Theobald is one of the most experienced and successful media managers in the German-speaking region. Most recently, he developed the Blick Group and Ringier Axel Springer Switzerland for us. In the coming years, Alexander Theobald will manage central projects for the Ringier Group in Zurich and Zofingen among other places.”
The Ringier Media International division will be headed by Ringier CEO Marc Walder effective immediately.
Closing of the acquisition
The transfer of shares by Ringier AG is expected to be completed in the course of 2023. The closing of the transaction is subject to the approval of the Swiss Competition Commission (WEKO).
Ringier AG, Corporate Communications
About Ringier AG
Ringier is a Swiss media and technology company. The Group comprises around 140 companies in 19 countries, which operate a range of leading media brands, digital platforms, and marketplaces. Almost 80 percent of the operating profit comes from the digital business. This makes Ringier one of the leading media companies in Europe. The family business has been based on entrepreneurship, cooperation, innovation, trust and courage for 190 years.