Norwegian publisher Schibsted has received an offer for its 49.3 percent share in 20 Minutes France from the Belgium Groupe Rossel.
The publisher “is now entering a phase of exclusive negotiation. If agreement on terms is reached, the deal is subject to a standard approval process with the French Competition Authorities. The transaction is estimated to close around October 2015.”
Rossel owns newspapers, magazines and websites in French Belgium (Le Soir, La Meuse) and the north of France (La Voix du Nord). It also has a stake in Belgium commercial broadcter RTL. In total it owns dozen of media brands.
The remaining shares of 10 Minutes are owned by groupe SIPA-Ouest-France, also owning regional newspapers in France.
The group said on their website that the plan were to strenghten the 20 Minutes brand.
“If the deal goes through we strongly believe that Rossel will be a good new shareholder for 20 Minutes in France. Rossel is a major player in news media in Belgium, with solid presence in France ; it shares the same publishing values as Ouest France, 20 Minutes’ other reference shareholder, and as such gives 20 Minutes a perspective of continuity. Over the last 13 years, Ouest France proved a solid and trustworthy partner in 20 Minutes; we wish them all the best for the future,” says Pierre-Francois Marteau, Senior Vice President of Strategy at Schibsted and former Chair of the Board at 20 Minutes France.
20 Minutes is the leading free daily in France, second is Direct Matin. Third paper Metro (now Metronews, owned by TF1) is about to be closed.