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Neue Zürcher Zeitung - Switzerland | Thursday, March 25, 2010

Ringier readies itself for purchase

The Swiss media group Ringier and the German media company Axel Springer are consolidating large parts of their business in Eastern Europe. The daily Neue Zürcher Zeitung detects in the plan announced on Wednesday signs of Ringier's withdrawal from the media business: "Ringier may be providing a bigger part of the common enterprise. That is confirmed by the 250 million francs [roughly 175 million euros] Springer will transfer to Zürich on signing. Clearly, nevertheless, and despite the parity in terms of ownership, control and leadership, Springer will have more pull. This once more raises the question of whether the Ringier family are considering slowly pulling out of the media business. President Michael Ringier has firmly rebuffed such speculations on various occasions. Nevertheless the topic has been on the table for the last eight years, since the negotiations over a takeover of Ringier by Axel Springer. ... Together with the Eastern European segment [Springer's international business] already makes up 30 percent of the the company's sales volume. Ringier's room to manoeuvre, by contrast, remains limited in tiny Switzerland."

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