20 Minutes to launch in Paris, Published 07/02/2002 18:08:51

The company 20 Minutes France SAS will be established with capital of euro 35 million. The company is to be owned 50% by Schibsted/20 Minutes Holding AG and 50% by the French companies Spir and Sofiouest (25 % each).

20 Minutes France will publish a free commuter newspaper based on the concept developed by 20 Minutes Holding AG through the publication of free commuter newspaper in 5 major cities in Europe: Zürich, Basel and Bern in Switzerland as well as Madrid and Barcelona in Spain.

A cooperation between complementary players

The companies Sofiouest and Spir Communication are two dominating players within the French media industry and part of the Ouest France-group.

Sofiouest, principal shareholder of Spir Communication, focus its activities on press, books and magazines.

Spir Communication is presently the leading French publisher of free newspapers based on classified advertising. The turnover in 2001 was euro 378.4 million. The listed group has a complete media portfolio and operations within distribution, printing and multimedia as well.

Schibsted is the principal shareholder of 20 Minuten Holding AG with an ownership of 41%. 20 Minuten Holding AG was established in 1998 to develop a free commuter newspaper concept on the European continent.

Structural synergies and a common vision

The two groups are similar both when it comes to ethical and editorial principles as well as commercial goals. Consequently, there is a common vision of a free quality commuter newspaper targeted against an attractive segment, as seen by many advertises; young, active, urban people that currently have little newspaper consumption.