Negotiations between Ringier, Swisscom and SRG are underway, Ringier announced Wednesday at its annual media conference in Zurich. SRG currently holds 33.3 percent. The marketing of SRG SSR advertising time via the alliance is not affected by a possible takeover of the SRG shares.
SRG confirmed statements by Ringier Group CEO Marc Walder on Wednesday that it was open to selling its Admeira shares. It wants to support the possible inclusion of new shareholder partners - in the interest of Admeira and the Swiss media center. Talks are currently taking place, he said, and everything is open.
Criticism from the industry
SRG's stake in Admeira has been controversial in the industry since the joint venture began in April 2016. With the alliance, Ringier, Swisscom and SRG want to better hold their own against foreign online giants such as Google, Facebook and YouTube.
However, in the view of non-participating media companies, the Swiss Media Association (VSM) and other associations, the alliance jeopardizes media diversity in Switzerland and leads to uneven spits in the industry. They have therefore taken legal action.
In mid-March, the Federal Court upheld the ruling of its predecessor: The complainants may take legal action against Admeira. The plaintiff media companies include Tamedia and AZ Medien.
In a statement, the VSM welcomes the fact that SRG has shown itself willing to negotiate the sale of its shares. This shows that SRG has become aware that Admeira was a political mistake. However, to ensure that the sale is not perceived "as a sleight of hand," a decision must also be made on a new solution for marketing SRG's advertising inventory.
Controversial role of Tamedia
Zurich-based media company Tamedia is also interested in Admeira, as Group CEO Christoph Tonini said at the Group's annual media conference in mid-March. However, emotions would first have to cool down a bit. This is because Tamedia wants to buy the media marketer Goldbach Group.
Ringier Group CEO Walder issued a clear rejection of a collaboration with Tamedia on Wednesday. He considers Christoph Tonini's statement "somewhat cynical," he told media representatives. Tamedia had negotiated with Admeira and SRG last year about the takeover of the SRG shares and at the same time arranged the acquisition of the Goldbach Group behind the backs of the negotiating partners. You don't do things like that, Walder said.
Tamedia contradicts this account in a statement. Initial talks between Tamedia, Swisscom, Ringier and SRG took place in the fall at the initiative of SRG. The talks focused on the question of whether a purchase of SRG's stake in Admeira could help to resolve the conflict caused by the distortion of competition.
SRG's withdrawal from Admeira had always been a precondition. Ringier and Swisscom would have known during these talks that Tamedia was in negotiations with Goldbach and that these were close to being concluded. "After an agreement was reached between Tamedia and Goldbach, Tamedia informed the Admeira partners Swisscom, Ringier and SRG and at the same time pointed out that it was still willing to talk about an industry solution," Tamedia writes. The company is prepared to discuss such a solution at any time. (SDA)