Sanoma Media Finland announced yesterday it has acquired a majority stake in Suomen Tietotoimisto (STT).
The Finnish multi-channel media company increased its interest in the traditional news agency from approximately 33 to 75 per cent by acquiring the shares of Alma Media, the publisher of Iltalehti and Kauppalehti, and TS-Yhtymä, the publisher of Turun Sanomat.
The price of the acquisition was not disclosed.
The acquisition will rationalise the ownership structure and thereby facilitate the development of STT, according to a press release from Sanoma Media Finland. It will also have no immediate impact on the relationship between STT and Alma Media and TS-Yhtymä.
“We believe the new ownership arrangement will improve and clarify the operational preconditions,” commented Vesa-Pekka Kangaskorpi, the chief executive at Keskisuomalainen, the second-largest shareholder of STT.
“We truly believe that there is a need and demand for a regular domestic news agency,” added Pia Kalsta, the chief executive at Sanoma Media Finland. “We will thoroughly assess customer needs during the course of the summer and early autumn and, based on them, attempt to establish a sustainable foundation for the operations.”
Kalsta also reminded that with the exception of the newswire service, STT’s business segments – namely, Lehtikuva and Viestintäpalvelut – are profitable.
The newswire services has been in financial difficulties for year due to declines in advertisement sales and newspaper subscriptions that have compelled many news outlets to discontinue using the service. STT was in May granted a one-off subsidy of 1.5 million euros by the government to guarantee the continuation of operations on the condition that its owners devise a plan to consolidate its financial standing.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Jussi Nukari – Lehtikuva