The Swiss media company Ringier has agreed to buy a majority stake in Sportal Media Group and in Digital Ventures.
The transaction, for an undisclosed fee, is subject to merger control approval by the competent local authorities and expected to close in the second quarter of this year.
The Sportal Media Group is ranks among the largest internet media groups In Bulgaria, operating digital properties in categories such as sports, news & politics, business, lifestyle, e-commerce, and services as well as over 45 social media channels. Sportal Media Group`s most significant digital brands are Sportal.bg and Novini.bg.
Established in 2006, Sportal.bg provides up-to-date and news, comments, analysis, statistics and interviews from a wide range of sports topics. With over 85,000,000 page views per month, it reaches 55% of Bulgaria’s online population. Sportal.bg is the first Bulgarian digital brand offering its own web TV service.
Meanwhile, Digital Ventures is specialised in the development of sports-centric content management systems. As the owner of “Sportal365″, a sports content publishing platform designed specifically for sports news, galleries and videos, live statistics and live scores, Digital it has developed a content management system capable of aggregating and merging large amounts of sports data from leading sports content providers. Moreover, it is capable of integrating sports betting content and advertising in an unprecedented native way.
Commenting on the transaction, Ladina Heimgartner, head global media of Ringier, said: “The investment in Sportal Media Group is a further milestone for Ringier as a digital media company with a strong journalistic DNA as well as an important sign for the future of our Global Media Division.
“I am convinced that Ringier’s strong global publishing experience and Sportal`s digital platform know-how is a perfect fit to set innovative standards in sports media globally”.
Stilian Shishkov, CEO of the Sportal Media Group and Digital Ventures, added: “Together with Ringier we will be able to bring our leading digital brands to another level in every aspect and make them even more attractive for our loyal audience. At the same time, we will take globally our sports media knowledge and stellar content publishing platform which is a critical part of running a successful digital sports brand. The step we take today is a major one, and it is the beginning of a great venture in the highly competitive sports media industry”.
Robin Lingg, the newly appointed chairman of the supervisory board of Sportal Media Group, said:”Our majority stake acquisition in Sportal Media Group offers the potential to further scale unique sports media knowledge and build further expertise within Ringier’s existing digital media platforms. I am pleased that we are continuing our collaboration with Stilian Shishkov`s Sportal Media Group, an outstanding and groundbreaking player in the development of digital sports media business models. No other incumbent portal has the sophistication in terms of IT platform and content concepts”.