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Schibsted group

Overview

The Norwegian Schibsted group is a newspaper and book publisher with online, broadcast and film interests, competing with Egmont, Sanoma WSOY, Metro and Bonnier.


The group

Schibsted owns Aftenposten, the largest newspaper in Norway, 49.9% of Sweden's leading paper, Aftonbladet and all of Postimees, Estonia's largest daily. The group includes Norwegian tabloid Verdens Gang and papers in Spain and Estonia.

Schibsted's 20 Minutes free daily - a competitor of the various Metros from Metro - is published in Madrid, Barcelona and Paris. (An edition in Cologne closed in 2001; editions in Berne, Basle, Zurich were sold to partner Tamedia in 2005). 20 Minutes is now the third largest paper in France.

Its major book publishing interests include Chr. Schibsteds Forlag and SMS Publishing in Sweden.

It has printing plants in Norway and Sweden, a 65% interest in TV production house Metronome Film & Television, a 32% stake in regional online portal Scandinavia Online and stakes in Baltic television channels such as Estonia's Kanal 2.

In December 2004 it made an unsolicited €705m bid for Alma Media - Finland's second-largest media group and 33% owned by Bonnier - arguing that Alma would be "a perfect partner ... the two companies complement each other both geographically and operationally". The bid appeared to reflect interest in Sweden's commercial channel TV4, in which Schibsted had a 21% stake, Alma 23.4% and Bonnier 21.7%. Schibsted indicated that it was primarily interested in Alma's broadcast interests (inc Finnish TV channel MTV3 and a majority holding in the Finnish radio station Radio Nova), the financial daily Kauppalehti and tabloid Iltalehti, with plans to sell off Alma's provincial newspapers.

Alma was instead acquired by a Proventus and Bonnier joint venture, which transferred the broadcasting operations to Nordic Broadcasting Oy and then relisted Alma - as Alma Media Corporation - on the Helsinki Stock Exchange.

In 2006 Schibsted sold its by then 26.9% stake in broadcaster TV4 to Nordic Broadcasting for SEK 1,455 million. Schibsted also sold its 33.37% stake in the Norwegian TV 2 Gruppen to A-pressen Nasjonale Medier AS, A-pressen TV Invest AS and Egmont Holding for NOK1.15 billion.

The Schibsted group is 26% owned by a trust that specifies Schibsted's governance should be "based on Christian values, Norwegian culture and democratic principles."

The Schibsted corporate site is here.

Studies

There are no major English-language studies of Schibsted.

However, valuable insights were provided in papers presented at the 2004 Stockholm School of Economics 'Family Firms in Media Business' history seminar. These include From family firm to family trust:The Incorporation of Schibsted (PDF) by Hans Dahl & Rolf Hoier, Daniel Nyberg's Ownership and Control in Family Firms: The Dagens Nyheter AB and the Bonnier Family (PDF), Staffan Sundin's Strategies, Ownership and Management in Two Generations: Karl Otto Bonnier and His Sons 1900-1954 (PDF) and Mats Larsson's Strategic Ownership and Ownership Behavior in The Bonnier Media Group, 1953-1990 (PDF).

A valuable resource for the group's free daily newspaper activity is provided by Piet Bakker's Free Newspaper research site.