(ESSEN / VIENNA. 12 November 2018) – The FUNKE MEDIENGRUPPE and SIGNA have established a partnership: SIGNA Holding is acquiring a share of 49 percent in WAZ Ausland Holding GmbH from FUNKE MEDIENGRUPPE, which in turn has a holding in the “Kronen Zeitung” and the “Kurier”. This marks SIGNA’s first investment in the media sector, following on from its significant holdings in real estate and retail. The cooperation will commence as soon as approval from the responsible Federal Antitrust Authorities has been granted. The Parties have agreed not to disclose the purchase price.
FUNKE have been actively involved in the Austrian media market since 1987. By way of WAZ Ausland Holding GmbH, they hold 50 percent of the “Kronen Zeitung”, and close to 50 percent of the “Kurier”. The remaining shares in the “Krone” belong to the Dichand family, while the Raiffeisen Group owns the balance of the “Kurier”.
Michael Wüller, Managing Director of the FUNKE MEDIENGRUPPE says: “We are very pleased to have found a powerful partner in SIGNA for our publishing ventures in Austria. Our newly gained combined strength and dynamism will allow us to develop these major brand names for the future with a rigorous focus on the digitalization of our assets.”
The partnership marks the next important step by SIGNA Holding to deliver on its strategic goal of becoming one of the leading multichannel providers in Europe.
René Benko, founder of SIGNA adds: “Digitalization is eliminating the boundaries between traditional business models. We have already reached a point where the world of retailing, information and entertainment have become intertwined and indistinguishable from today’s working habits and living preferences. That is why we are making strategic investments into business models, which target broad consumer groups with exceptional products and services to meet their future needs in both the analogue and the digital world, as a cohesive and holistic whole. The transformation of strong brand names is playing a major part in this.”
This is why SIGNA engages strategically wherever consumers expect to be presented with a seamless suite of offline and online goods and services, and where tried and trusted brand name environments are merging with digital offerings: In residential by the development of innovative and high quality living concepts, at the workplace by the development of the most modern office buildings and working environments, in retailing by the revitalisation of department stores to thriving, inner city destination market places and in information and entertainment by the future potential of strong and established media brands.
René Benko continues: “We will successfully contribute our prolific knowhow in the digitalization of traditional business models into the partnership. I am looking forward to collaborating with the FUNKE MEDIENGRUPPE, the Dichand family and the Raiffeisen Group.”
About the FUNKE MEDIENGRUPPE:
Information, entertainment, services – that is the FUNKE MEDIENGRUPPE. The focus is on three particular fields of business: Regional media, women’s journals as well as TV listings and digital. More than 1,500 journalists and around 4,500 media operatives work at FUNKE. In Germany, the company distributes daily newspapers in Berlin, Hamburg, Lower Saxony, North Rhine Westphalia, and Thuringia, among them the Berliner Morgenpost, Braunschweiger Zeitung, Hamburger Abendblatt, Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, and the Thüringer Allgemeine. FUNKE are also among the biggest consumer magazine publishers.
The portfolio includes titles such as Hörzu, Gong, TV Digital, BILD der FRAU, Frau im Spiegel, die aktuelle, myself, and DONNA. Added to these are a whole range of magazines and journals dedicated to puzzles and specialist sectors, as well as lifestyle magazines. In the digital sector, FUNKE is building up a network of specialized job portals, such as ABSOLVENTA and joblocal, while in the publishing and social media sector FUNKE is a major provider on the German market by way of a majority holding in MEDIA PARTISANS. At all its daily newspaper locations, the FUNKE Group is the source of leading advertising journals. In the North Rhine Westphalia region, FUNKE holds majority participations in local radio stations. The company is also engaged in the Austrian newspaper market (Kronen Zeitung, Kurier), and with GOLDENE KAMERA and GOLDENE BILD der FRAU, FUNKE also hosts two major media events.
The SIGNA Group, established by entrepreneur René Benko in 1999, is a privately held holding company active in both the retail and real estate sectors. With real estate assets of more than 14 billion EUR and an additional development volume of around 8 billion EUR, the company is one of the most important and significant real estate investors in Europe.
SIGNA Real Estate Group is one of the largest real estate owners and developers in major European Metropolitan hubs, including Berlin, Munich, Hamburg and Vienna where it owns a remarkable collection of assets including iconic landmark buildings such as the KaDeWe and the UPPER WEST Tower in Berlin, the Goldene Quartier with the Park Hyatt Hotel in Vienna, Alte Akademie in Munich, as well as the Alsterhaus and the Alsterarkaden in Hamburg.
The SIGNA Retail Group is parent to five independent platforms, including SIGNA Premium, SIGNA Department Store Group, SIGNA Home & Lifestyle, SIGNA Food & Restaurants, and SIGNA Sports United, continental Europe’s leading sport E-commerce platform. With a combined turnover of more than EUR 7 billion (of which more than 10% is online) and around 45,000 employees at 320 locations in the best innercity locations, as well as more than 100 Webshops in 20 countries, SIGNA Retail Group is one of the leading retail platforms in Europe.