SDA and Keystone merge to form multimedia media group

The news agency SDA and the picture agency Keystone will form the multimedia company Keystone-SDA from 1 January 2018. The competition authorities and shareholders still have to approve the merger.

keystone-sda

Keystone-SDA will offer text, image, video and infographics in the future. Both partners will deepen their already existing partnership. According to Chairman of the Board of Directors Hans Heinrich Coninx, the closing of ranks is an important step towards the further joint development of SDA and Keystone.

Present in all three parts of the country

The new company generates sales of CHF 50.6 million and employs around 300 people. It is present in all three parts of the country. The trilingualism, regional roots, quality of journalism and long-standing business relationships with customers will remain the hallmarks of the merged two companies, according to a statement.

"The merger brings several advantages for customers," explained SDA CEO Markus Schwab and Keystone CEO Jann Jenatsch. Through the integrated production of multimedia content, complexity can be significantly reduced. Thanks to a joint planning tool, customer-specific products could be realised more quickly.

The goal is to combine the competencies of Keystone and SDA. "This will allow us to combine the best of both worlds," Schwab and Jenatsch stressed. Keystone-SDA also wants to expand its business with clients outside the media in a targeted manner. The focus here is on companies, authorities and organisations. In a third business area, digital services such as customer-specific apps are to be developed.

APA-IT as technology partner

Vienna-based APA-IT will contribute technology expertise to the new company as part of a long-term IT cooperation. SDA and APA have already been partners for ten years. Both companies previously held 50 percent of the shares in Keystone each.

The planned merger will take place through an exchange of shares. The Austrian news agency APA will contribute its current 50 percent stake in Keystone to the new company and will receive a 30 percent share in Keystone-SDA in return. APA will thus become the largest single shareholder in the new company.

The Board of Directors of Keystone-SDA consists of the previous nine members of the SDA Supervisory Board. New members are Clemens Pig, Chairman of the Management Board of APA, and Karin Thiller, Managing Director of APA. The Chairman of the Board of Directors is Hans Heinrich Coninx.

Four-member management team

The new four-member management team of Keystone-SDA includes Markus Schwab as CEO, Jann Jenatsch as Chief Operating Officer, Rainer Kupper as Chief Marketing Officer and Daniel Mathys as Chief Financial Officer.

The long-standing Editor-in-Chief and Head of Sales, Bernard Maissen, welcomes the merger but is leaving the company. He had successfully implemented the Board of Directors' strategy of further developing SDA into a multimedia news agency. He is leaving the SDA after almost 25 years, half of them at the head of the editorial department and on the Executive Board. The Board of Directors thanks Bernard Maissen for his very great commitment and wishes him all the best for his future career.

The competition authorities in Switzerland and Austria as well as the shareholders of SDA and Keystone still have to approve the merger. The merger is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2018, with retroactive effect from 1 January 2018. (SDA)

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