Sanoma’s Flemish magazines taken over by Dutch

Summary

The Flemish branch of Finnish publishing giant Sanoma will be taken over by Dutch management in a merger that follows an unsuccessful attempt to find a buyer for the local products, which include Flair and Humo

No buyer for Flemish branch

Finnish media company Sanoma is merging its Belgian and Dutch magazine publishing activities, after failing to find a buyer for its Belgian properties, which include Flair, Story, Libelle and Humo. The new corporate entity will be led by Sanoma’s Dutch executives, although the Belgian activities will continue to be based in Mechelen.

“This merger will bring with it a number of growth opportunities that will have to be studied,” said Hans Cools, Sanoma Belgium CEO until the end of the year. The two divisions will also look into opportunities to synergise their operations.

That will involve new products being launched on both sides of the border. But there are no plans to switch to cross-border editions of existing properties, Cools said. The company publishes two versions of Flair and Libelle for the Dutch and Flemish markets and will continue to do so.

“We want to bring our product development and success stories over the border,” commented Henk Scheenstra, who will take over the running of Sanoma Media Belgium as chair of the board. He cited the examples of Dutch online activities nu.nl and the price comparison site kieskeurig.nl.

The merger comes after months of talks that aimed to find a buyer for the Belgian magazine division, which was unsuccessful due to an over-supplied and extremely competitive market, said Sanoma. Both De Persgroep, publishers of De Morgen and owners of VTM, and Roularta, publishers of Knack and Trends, showed initial interest before backing away. 

The Flemish branch of Finnish publishing giant Sanoma will be taken over by Dutch management in a merger that follows an unsuccessful attempt to find a buyer for the local products, which include Flair and Humo.

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