Ringier sells Le Temps to Aventinus Foundation

The French-speaking Swiss newspaper Le Temps will pass into the hands of private patrons at the beginning of 2021. The Aventinus Foundation, based in Carouge, has bought the newspaper from the Zurich media company Ringier Axel Springer Schweiz. It is taking over the entire editorial team, which is moving from Lausanne to Geneva.


Ringier Axel Springer Switzerland will in future focus on its core publishing products, Ringier CEO Marc Walder announced to the media in Carouge on Tuesday. The decisive factor in the publisher's decision was the lack of synergies with its publishing portfolio, which consists largely of magazines. In the long term, the sale of Le Temps to Aventinus the future of the title along with its more than one hundred jobs, Walder emphasized.


Quality journalism in French-speaking Switzerland

The newspaper will change hands on January 1, 2021. François Longchamp, president of the Aventinus Foundation and former Geneva FDP councillor, would not comment on the purchase price. He said the editorial office will move from Lausanne to Geneva, to a location that has not yet been specified. The editorial move is expected to take place during the first half of 2021.

The newspaper will continue to be printed at the current printing plant, that of the Tamedia Group in Bussigny VD, as Longchamp specified. The foundation intends to, Le Temps as an independent quality newspaper and to take over the entire editorial team. The previous Le-TempsEditor-in-Chief Stéphane Benoit-Godet moves to Ringier magazine in the same position on December 1. L'Illustré. He succeeds Michel Jeanneret, who is moving to Blick.ch's French-speaking counterpart after ten years in his editor-in-chief position. (Werbewoche.ch reported).


Foundation model praised

According to Walder, the Ringier media house came to the conclusion that continuation through the involvement of a renowned foundation is more promising in the long term. When a group of foundations and private patrons announce the takeover of a daily newspaper, this is "very good news," Walder said. The CEO of Ringier went on to say that the advertising direction of Le Temps will remain with the Ringier company - Admeira - for another two years.

The foundation model is new for the Swiss media landscape, said Longchamp, president of the foundation. Quality newspapers in France and Great Britain had already taken a similar path. With Aventinus, the long-term continuation of quality journalism, for which Le Temps is guaranteed in French-speaking Switzerland, Longchamp emphasized.


Long-term and independent future

The foundation's mission, he said, is to support and promote high-quality, autonomous and diverse media in western Switzerland. Especially at a time when the media world is going through a turbulent phase, the foundation can support the editorial team of Le Temps assist in securing a long-term economic future for the title.

The Aventinus Foundation was established in October 2019 with the support of several foundations, including the Leenaards Foundation, the FoStiftung Jan Michalski and the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation. Pending the closing of the transaction, the Aventinus Foundation is to form the new Board of Directors of Le Temps which - under the chairmanship of Eric Hoesli, the first editor-in-chief of Le Temps - will consist of five to six independent members.

The new editor-in-chief of Le Temps is not yet determined.

The Aventinus Foundation further announced on Tuesday that it intends to acquire a majority stake in the western Swiss news portal Heidi.news, which was founded in May 2019, in the medium term. This is intended to generate additional synergies for Le Temps arise in order to further strengthen the title's position. Aventinus already owns 5.81 percent of the share capital of Heidi Media SA since December 2019.


Syndicom and imprint pleased

The media union Syndicom and the Association of Swiss Journalists Imprint welcomed the commitment of the Aventinus Foundation to Le Temps and at Heidi.news. The solution reached in French-speaking Switzerland makes it possible to strengthen media diversity in French-speaking Switzerland, said Dominique Diserens, trade union secretary of Impressum Romandie.

The national daily newspaper Le Temps was launched in 1998 as a merger product of the Le Nouveau Quotidien and of the Le Journal de Genève was founded. Ringier took over the daily newspaper Le Temps completely in April 2014. Previously, the newspaper had been owned by the media houses Tamedia and Ringier, each with 46.2 percent. (SDA/swi)

More articles on the topic