Message from the CEO
One year ago, as I sat down to write my opening message for last year’s annual report, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic had begun to take hold in society, with restrictions and uncertainty impacting people and businesses alike. Schibsted’s response was to swiftly shift its priorities and resources during the first quarter of 2020, to safeguard our employees and manage the significant negative financial and operational effects of the measures imposed on society to reduce the spread of the virus.
At the same time, we emphasized that Schibsted, through its strong media positions in Norway and Sweden, would play a vital role in this time of crisis. Delivering on that role has been our highest priority. We were confident that, with our solid financials and highly competent employees, Schibsted was well-positioned to navigate the turbulent times ahead and to find the extraordinary value-creating opportunities that often arise during difficult times.
Now, twelve months later, there is no doubt that we did just that. Over the last three quarters of 2020, we not only navigated a turbulent situation and secured solid financial results; we also found those extraordinary value-creating opportunities. Based on long-term strategies and efforts, and as a major next step after the spin-off in 2019, Adevinta announced in July a definitive agreement to acquire eBay Classifieds Group, thereby creating the largest online classifieds group in the world. Moreover – with the acquisition of the Finnish marketplace Oikotie from Sanoma, and the upcoming acquisition of Danish marketplaces DBA.dk and Bilbasen.dk related to the Adevinta/eBay transaction – Schibsted took important steps toward becoming the true Nordic powerhouse we have aspired to be.
While we are proud of our financial results and of the positions we gained in 2020, we are equally proud of how we have used those results and positions to deliver on our mission of empowering people in their daily lives. Whether it be through the efforts of our news media to inform the public about the pandemic and the restrictions imposed to combat it, through the ability of our marketplaces to enable people to do business together safely, reliably and efficiently, through the capability of our distribution businesses to connect consumers and producers even during lockdown, or through the digital services supplied by our growth companies that enhance market transparency; the entire Schibsted family of products and services has contributed to
fulfilling our mission.
We believe in the power of our societal role, because we believe companies are more sustainable in every way – including financially – when their purpose is about more than making a profit. This has been a core belief in Schibsted for a long time. Creating value at multiple levels and for all our stakeholders is not a balancing act, but a positive spiral. Creating value for consumers leads to increased use of services that benefit society, which in turn attracts people we want to work with and increases the value of our business for our owners and investors.
Each Schibsted business contributes in its own way and according to its goals. As a family, we see the proof of this logic at work when we see how value is created for each stakeholder group in unison. And as a group, we see the proof of this logic when people find our products and services valuable, and make them a part of their lives in ways that change how they act, consume, and understand the world. That’s where we can see Schibsted’s true impact on society. That impact matters even more in challenging and turbulent times like these.