BNS ALMA MEDIA STOCK EXCHANGE RELEASE 15 MAY 2001 10.00 AM (EET) KAUPPALEHTI TAKES MAJORITY HOLDING IN LEADING BALTIC NEWS AGENCY BNS Publishing company Kustannusosakeyhtiö Kauppalehti has become the largest owner of Baltic News Service (BNS), the leading news agency in the Baltic countries, with an 85 % holding. The remaining 15 % of the shares are held by the US business news bureau Bridge Telerate. BNS will henceforth form part of Alma Media’s Business Information Group (BIG), which previously held 26.5 % of BNS. The sellers in the deal were Sweden’s leading business newspaper Dagens Industri, the Swedish business news bureau Direkt, Suomen Lehdentekijät in Finland and other minority holders. BNS has its head office in Tallinn, Estonia, and subsidiaries in Latvia and Lithuania as well as offices in Moscow and Kaliningrad. The group has approximately 170 employees and annual net sales of FIM 22 million and its result was clearly profitable. BNS produces more than 1000 news flashes daily in Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Russian and English. Established in 1990, BNS also supplies the media, financial institutions and companies with business information as well as news. Internet services play a central role in BNS’s product and service concept. Mr George Shabad, CEO of BNS, considers the future plans for the news agency, now majority owned by a Finnish company, to be a solid solution. "We have fulfilled our strategy of becoming the leading privately owned news agency in the Baltic countries in a very short time. In the future we will seek further growth through electronic services, placing particular emphasis on the production of business information. Proposed membership of the EU for the Baltic countries also signifies opportunities for the media," Shabad states. According to a poll conducted by Estonian AS Emor in March, around 50 percent of the Baltic decision makers consider BNS their main source of information, and around 20 percent of them keep a BNS site (www.bns.ee, www.bns.lv, www.bns.lt) open daily on their computer screen. Baltic News Service is part of BIG, which last year had net sales of FIM 252 million. BIG also comprises Kauppalehti, Kauppalehti Online, Kauppalehti Extra, Kauppalehti Optio, Kauppalehti Saldo, Tähtirahastot and Balance Consulting Oy and part of Suomen Uutislinkki Oy. BIG will continue to produce business information and content in printed form, via television and the Internet, and directly to wireless terminal devices. ALMA MEDIA CORPORATION Terhi Lambert Communications Manager Further information: Kari Väisänen, Vice President, Alma Media Corporation, tel. +358 9 507 8562 DISTRIBUTION: Helsinki Exchanges, principal media
  • Date: 15.5.2001, 08:00
  • News type: Stock exchange release

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