Publicitas accounts have been pledged since mid-February

Publicitas already pledged its accounts in mid-February, according to research by Schweiz am Wochenende. The publishers must now decide whether to accept the offer made on Thursday - a stake in the company.

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Publicitas had been working on a restructuring concept for several weeks. Owner Carsten Brinkmeier and CEO Jörg Nürnberg were correspondingly surprised when the publishers began to publicly and effectively terminate the cooperation and thus the trust two weeks ago. From Publicitas' point of view, this jeopardized its previous work - to the detriment of the entire Swiss media landscape.

How the Switzerland at the weekend now shows, the restructuring should succeed with the help of the Zug-based company Vicenda Asset Management. The company specializes in granting loans to SMEs that no longer have a chance of finding money from banks.

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According to the statement, Publictias received 15 million Swiss francs on February 16 in order to be able to "refinance existing debts and finance the planned restructuring". In return, Vicenda received extensive collateral - including the pledging of Publicitas' bank accounts and "trade receivables amounting to 150 percent of the nominal value.

The millions were provided by Luxembourg-based Thalos Investment Platform, which co-founded Vicenda. Thalos specializes in debt securities. These "private debt investments" are designed to provide institutional investors with gross returns of up to five percent.

The fact that the publishers' patience thread has snapped has upset the originally envisaged turnaround plan and exposed the financing details - unusual for this area of business.

Following the provisional moratorium imposed by the District Court, a majority of the publishers must now agree to a new restructuring concept by May 10. If this does not happen, it may no longer be possible to avert the bankruptcy of the long-established advertising broker.

Publishers to be involved in publictias

On Thursday, Publicitas management met with the publishers and presented them with a final offer. Thus, the publishers are not only to receive a half share in the company, but will also experience full transparency in the future. However, Schweiz am Wochenende estimates the chances of reaching an agreement as "low". The reason: not all publishers are treated equally - Tamedia, for example, enjoys special rights. While the money for ads in titles of all other publishers flows to Thalo's investment, amounts paid for Tamedia titles are credited directly to the Zurich media group. "Publicitas has assigned claims in favor of two parties, namely Thalos Investment Platform S.A. on the one hand and Tamedia on the other," Publictias wrote in a statement Friday.

Accordingly, Publicitas will not accept new orders until May 15 - if the publishers' vote is positive. The company needs the five days between feedback from the publishers and the continuation of business to "evaluate the feedback".

In the same announcement, Publicitas also announces the launch of a hotline due to "the numerous queries" from customers. This will go into operation on Monday and is intended to clarify open questions during office hours. (hae)

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