20 Minutes Cologne shuts down

Schibsted ASA (SCH) , Published 11/07/2001 11:01:36

The free newspaper 20 Minutes which was launched in Cologne at the end of 1999 will be closed down with immediate effect. The last issue will be published on Wednesday July 11.

The decision to stop publication must be seen in relation to the decision earlier this year not to proceed at the present time with launches in several German cities. 20 Minutes Holding’s analysis shows that the entry in the German market can only be successful if done on a national level. In 2000 20 Minutes Cologne was forced to suspend publication for several weeks due to legal challenges from several established players. These legal challenges together with the difficult competitive situation in the advertising market have also contributed to the decision to stop the publication of the newspaper in Cologne.

A stand-alone operation in Cologne does not appear to be economically viable, and further resources will not be allocated to this project. 20 Minutes Holding will focus its resources towards projects in other European countries and towards the further expansion of the Swiss operation, which is very successful.

A severance plan will be developed for the approx. 55 employees in Cologne.

The losses from the Cologne operation has been expensed on an ongoing basis and Schibsted´s share of the losses for 2001 until close down amounts to approx. NOK 15 million. Schibsted´s share of the estimated close down costs will amount to approx. NOK 6 million.