Singapore, 13 September 2006 - Leading media groups Singapore Press Holdings Limited (“SPH”) and Schibsted ASA (“Schibsted”) have today jointly announced a strategic partnership for the online business.
SPH and Schibsted entered into two joint venture agreements today to set up a regional joint venture company and a Singapore joint venture company to develop the online business including online classifieds, search and directories and other internet opportunities. The two joint venture companies will benefit from Schibsted´s unique technologies and capabilities in the online business as well as SPH´s expertise as a leading content provider and its understanding of and network in the Asian markets. Both companies will make an initial investment of over S$2 million each to set up the two joint ventures.
The regional joint venture company, named 701Search Pte Ltd (“701Search”), will identify potential investments in online classifieds, search and directories across Southeast Asia and Greater China. 701Search will be held 50-50 by SPH Interactive International Pte Ltd (a wholly-owned subsidiary of SPH incorporated in Singapore) and Schibsted International Classifieds & Search AS (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Schibsted incorporated in Norway).
The Singapore joint venture company, named SPH Search Pte Ltd (“SPH Search”), will focus on areas such as online search and directories in Singapore. SPH Search will be held 75-25 by SPH Interactive Pte Ltd (a wholly-owned subsidiary of SPH incorporated in Singapore) and Schibsted International Classifieds & Search AS (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Schibsted incorporated in Norway).
Mr Alan Chan, CEO of SPH, said: “We are very excited about the partnership as it marks a major milestone in SPH´s quest to grow beyond print and beyond Singapore. Schibsted has a strong online position and wealth of experience in developing online concepts in Europe while SPH can complement Schibsted´s strengths, with our in-depth knowledge of the local market and well-established network gained through our existing investments in the regional markets. Together, our combined expertise and capabilities will allow us to provide a complete suite of online business offerings to prospective customers and partners.”
“We envisage that with growing Internet penetration, we will be able to secure opportunities to increase online advertising revenue. The timing could not be better for both parties to reap the benefits when the market takes off. We are confident that this partnership will strengthen both of our media portfolios and fit into our strategic plans in the long run,” Mr Chan added.
Mr Kjell Aamot, CEO of Schibsted, said : “Our joint venture agreements with SPH represent Schibsted´s first move into Asia. This is a significant move for Schibsted as our experience to-date has been limited to Europe. Schibsted has good experience in working with local partners when entering into new markets and we are very satisfied with having reached these agreements with SPH. We could not have found a better partner. Combining SPH´s local market knowledge and market positions with our demonstrated experience within the online classifieds, search and directories businesses will give the joint ventures the best preconditions for successful growth.”
Schibsted, listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange, is one of the most prominent media groups in Scandinavia. Besides key operations in Norway and Sweden, Schibsted has an extensive European footprint with presence in Denmark, Finland, France, Spain, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Russia, Slovenia and Latin America. The group combines experience of traditional media with extensive knowledge about new media. Over the years, Schibsted has successfully penetrated the nascent online classified market in Norway, Sweden and subsequently in other parts of Europe. Schibsted´s recent acquisition of Trader Classified Media´s Western Europe business has further cemented its position as Europe´s leading online classified player.
SPH is a leading media company in Singapore with established platforms in publishing, Internet and broadcasting. With overseas ventures in magazines and outdoor advertising, SPH´s operations span Asia in countries such as Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Hong Kong and China. In recent months, SPH has been aggressively pursuing new media initiatives by expanding into online recruitment advertising with ST701 and STOMP (Straits Times Online Mobile Print), a website aimed at encouraging interactivity with readers through mobile devices and the Internet. SPH news content is also available through mobile phone-based Internet service.
The transaction is not expected to have any material impact on the net tangible assets or earnings per share of SPH for the financial year ending 31 August 2007. Mr Willie Cheng Jue Hiang, a Director of SPH, will also be a Director of the two joint venture companies. None of the other Directors of SPH has any interest in the transaction.
Issued Jointly by Singapore Press Holdings Limited and Schibsted Group
(SPH Co. Regn. No: 198402868E)
For more information, please contact:
Singapore Press Holdings Limited
Ms Carole Chow
DID: (65) 6319 1586
Fax: (65) 6319 8150
Mr Sverre Munck
Executive Vice President
Tel: (47) 2310 6699
Fax: (47) 2310 6601
Mobile: (47) 9168 6699
About Singapore Press Holdings Limited
Main board listed Singapore Press Holdings Limited is the leading media company in Singapore, in the print, Internet and broadcasting platforms. It publishes 14 newspapers in the four official languages, including Singapore’s first free Chinese newspaper, My Paper, and over 80 magazine titles. Everyday, 2.7 million individuals, or 83 per cent of the people above 15 years old, read one of the SPH publications. Its Internet Business Unit manages the online editions of SPH’s major newspapers, which enjoy over 100 million pageviews from 6 million unique visitors every month. More recent online additions are the classified website, ST701, and STOMP (Straits Times Online Mobile Print), a portal that connects, engages and interacts with readers on the Internet and via mobile messaging.
SPH owns and operates Paragon, the prime shopping and office building in the heart of Orchard Road. Paragon features international brands and luxury goods, restaurants serving wide-ranging cuisines and lifestyle facilities such as spas and a fitness club.
SPH also owns a 20% stake in MediaCorp TV Holdings Pte Ltd, which operates free-to-air channels 5, 8, U and TV Mobile, and a 40% stake in MediaCorp Press Pte Ltd, which publishes free sheet Today. SPH has a 70% stake in UnionWorks, which operates two entertainment radio channels, Radio 100.3 in Chinese and Radio 91.3 in English. In addition, SPH holds an 80% stake in SPH MediaBoxOffice Pte Ltd, Singapore´s largest LED network media company, and a 35% stake in TOM Outdoor Media Group, a leading outdoor advertising company in China.
About Schibsted ASA
Schibsted is a Scandinavian media group that aims to become the most attractive media company in Europe. It has around 7,500 employees and operations in 19 countries. Its domestic markets are Norway and Sweden but the Group also has companies in Denmark, Finland, France, Spain, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Russia, Slovenia and Latin America. Schibsted currently has a presence in the newspaper, TV, film, online, mobile-phone, book and magazine media. Its turnover in 2005 was NOK 9.8 billion.