September 2012

Rheinische Post Mediengruppe acquires majority shareholding in the Saarbrücker Zeitungsgruppe

The Rheinische Post Mediengruppe has acquired the majority shareholding in the Saarbrücker Zeitungsgruppe from the Gesellschaft für staatsbürgerliche Bildung Saar mbH (GSB). In addition to the Saarbrücker Zeitung, this also includes the titles Trierischer Volksfreund, the Pfälzerischer Merkur in Zweibrücken and the Lausitzer Rundschau in Cottbus, as well as a majority holding in the Saarländisch Wochenblatt Verlagsgesellschaft. The group is also engaged in extensive activities in digital fields of business.

Of particular entrepreneurial importance is the fast-growing Luxembourg-based subsidiary Euroscript, an internationally leading translation and documentation service provider with an annual turnover of around €100 million.

The merger will create one of the largest regional media companies in Germany with turnover of more than €800 million. The group will continue to expand its print and digital business with strong regional brands. At the same time, growth perspectives are opening up in existing and new business fields, both national and international.

“In the Rheinische Post Mediengruppe we have succeeded in gaining an experienced, ambitious and successful majority shareholder for the Saarbrücker Zeitungsgruppe”, says Professor Rudolf Warnking, chairman of the supervisory board of the GSB. “We are delighted to have found a partner in the Rheinische Post Mediengruppe which will continue the success of the Saarbrücker Zeitungsgruppe in the long-term and with an emphasis on a regionally-specific alignment”, adds Friedel Läpple, deputy chairmen of the supervisory board of the GSB. Dr. Karl Hans Arnold, chairman of the board of the Rheinische Post Mediengruppe, says of the largest acquisition in the history of the company: “The negotiations, which were marked by a high degree of trust, are a good basis for close co-operation in the future. We are looking forward to continuing the successful work of the Saarbrücker Zeitungsgruppe together with our co-partners GSB and the Beteiligungsgesellschaft Saarbrücker Zeitung, as well as the present management under the leadership of Dr. Joachim Meinhold.”

The acquisition of the shares still requires the agreement of the Federal Cartel Office.

About the Rheinische Post Mediengruppe:
The Rheinische Post Mediengruppe is a medium-size European media company. In Germany it publishes the daily newspaper with the largest circulation in the Rhineland: with about 350,000 copies daily, the Rheinische Post reaches about one million readers. With a strong parliamentary office it underlines its publicistic claim to be the voice of the west that is also heard at national level. In RP Online the media group has one of the farthest-reaching online portals of German daily papers, reaching around 3.3 million unique users every month. In addition, the company has holdings in five German advertising paper publishers with a weekly circulation of around 2.6 million copies, three local TV stations and 17 radio stations. The high-performance printing centres in Düsseldorf and Wuppertal bring state-of-the-art print products onto the market. Internationally the media group is broadly set-up: Subsidiary companies in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and the Netherlands publish leading national and regional daily papers as well as over 50 weekly papers and advertising papers; the websites idnes.cz and sme.sk are among the leading news portals in their respective countries. The media group presently employs 4,700 people in Germany and abroad. Turnover in 2011 was approximately € 500 million.

Gesellschaft für staatsbürgerliche Bildung Saar mbH and the Beteiligungsgesellschaft der Saarbrücker Zeitung:
In the course of the re-privatisation of the Saarbrücker Zeitung in 1969, 26 percent of the shares in the company were issued to a ‘purely Saarlandish’ institution. Today these shares are held by the Gesellschaft für staatsbürgerliche Bildung Saar mbH (GSB), formerly known as the Förderergesellschaft Saarbrücker Zeitung. According to its articles of association, the tasks of the GSB are the promotion of science, culture and education, in particular democratic civil education, international cooperation and European unity. Within the Saarbrücker Zeitung Verlag und Druckerei GmbH it represents the ‘interests of the Saarland in confessional and political neutrality’. The partners of the GSB are the Union Stiftung (40 percent), the Demokratische Gesellschaft Saarland e.V. (40 percent) and the Villa Lessing - Liberale Stiftung Saar e.V. (20 per cent). Since its establishment, the Beteiligungsgesellschaft der Saarbrücker Zeitung has been the carrier of the shares which are provided for the holding of shares by employees. It holds 15 per cent of the shares in the company.

Saarbrücker Zeitungsgruppe:
The Saarbrücker Zeitung Verlag und Druckerei GmbH is a media group based in the Saarland which also has a majority holding in the Saarländischen Wochenblatt Verlagsgesellschaft mbH. Subsidiary companies publish the Pfälzischer Merkur (Zweibrücken), the Trierischer Volksfreund and the Lausitzer Rundschau (Cottbus). The group is also active in the field of postal services, telephone directories and yellow pages, Internet portals and IT services. The Luxembourg-based subsidiary company Euroscript S.A. is one of the world’s ten leading translation and document management service providers. A total of around 2,700 employees work for the media group’s various companies. Turnover in 2011 was approximately € 320 million.