Aspiro AB has today acquired 100% of the shares in Schibsted Mobile. The acquisition will be settled with newly emitted shares in Aspiro AB. Following the deal, Schibsted will be the largest shareholder in the new company with 44.5% of the shares. The market capitalization of Aspiro was SEK 323 million at closing 16 February.
Schibsted considers the market for mobile content to be an important part of the group’s new media growth strategy. The transaction with Aspiro will contribute to a significant strengthening of the group’s position in this market. Operationally the two companies complement each other in terms of both geographies and products, and the new company will be a market leader in the Scandinavian countries. In addition, Aspiro is present in Spain, UK, and the US. Substantial synergies are expected between the two companies.
“Like Aspiro, we believe that consolidation will contribute to value creation. Our ownership in Aspiro is long-term, and our intentions are to be an active owner in a listed company on the Stockholm Stock Exchange,” says Sverre Munck, Exceutive Vice President in Schibsted.
Aspiro AB is listed on the “O-list” of Stockholm Stock Exchange (ticker: ASP). In the second half of 2004, the company had revenues of SEK 107 million and operating profit before depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of SEK 9.1 million.
The transaction will give Schibsted an accounting profit of approx. SEK 85 million based on yesterday’s closing price. The final accounting profit will depend on the closing price on the day of execution.
The Swedish Securities Council has exempted Schibsted from the redemption offer obligation that would otherwise arise. The exemption is conditional upon Schibsted reducing its share of votes to less than 30% within 24 months unless the redemption offer is trigged.
Schibsted supports Aspiro’s proposal for a new Board of Directors and will do so on the Annual General Meeting.
The execution of the agreement is dependent on an acceptance by the Aspiro’s Extraordinary General Meeting to be held 22 March 2005. Several of the largest shareholders have committed to support the proposal.
For further information please contact:
Executive Vice President Sverre Munck, tel +47 9168 6699
Vice President Christian Ruth, tel +47 9170 4971
Oslo, 17 February 2005
Elisabeth Blom Tindlund
Investor Relations Officer