Telegraaf: Only Two Newspaper Companies to Survive
AMSTERDAM, 17/08/13 - The number of newspaper companies in the Netherlands is expected to shrink sharply in the coming year. Telegraaf Media Groep (TMG) interim CEO Cees van Steijn expects only two to survive, he said Friday in Het Financieele Dagblad newspaper.
Newspaper publishers are under heavy pressure due to a persistent decline in advertising revenues and lower circulation because readers are increasingly obtaining their information from the Internet. Van Steijn says joining forces is “absolutely essential.”
“Within a few years, there will be a smaller number of media players in the Netherlands. Personally, I think two will survive.” He hopes that this will be TMG (De Telegraaf) and De Persgroep, owner of newspapers including De Volkskrant, Algemeen Dagblad and Het Parool.
This would mean that companies like (NRC Handelsblad), FD Mediagroep (Het Financieele Dagblad) and regional newspapers Wegener and NDC Mediagroep would be swallowed up. Concrete talks on takeovers are not underway now, according to Van Steij. But newspaper companies are still discussing joining forces to cut distribution and printing costs of their titles.
TMG expressed interest in acquiring Wegener last year, but decided in the end not to bring out a bid because its financial position did not permit this. Van Steijn’s predecessor Herman van Campenhout, who was forced to resign in April, said that TMC would not make any more big takeovers in cash.
Van Steijn now says that he and the supervisory board will in the second half consider the ‘consolidation question’. One option is for TMG to cash in its 6 percent stake in German TV company ProSiebenSat.1 in order to take to the acquisitions trail.
But Van Steijn also suggests the possibility of issuing new shares in order to be able to make acquisitions. He points out that TMG has never done this. “In principle, I consider that you use the bourse listing for investments that you must do. So I am also in talks with the market about how you should do that.”