The Swiss-based Ringier AG has entered into an agreement to acquire the majority stake in Sportal Media Group, owner of the leading digital media assets in Bulgaria, and in Digital Ventures OOD, the IT development company behind the leading international Sports Content Management System, Sportal365. The acquisition marks an important milestone in accelerating Ringier`s sports media strategy.
Following an extremely successful two-and-a-half-year collaboration in the joint venture Ringier Sportal S.R.L. in Romania, Ringier AG is now also closing ranks with the Bulgarian Sportal Media Group at the corporate level. The internationally active Swiss media company Ringier AG has agreed to acquire a majority stake in Sportal Media Group and in Digital Ventures OOD.
The purchase of the shares is expected to close in the second quarter of 2021. The transaction is subject to merger control approval by the competent local authorities. Both parties have agreed not to disclose the purchase price and the valuation of the target companies. With this largest investment within the last few years, Ringier is pushing ahead with its ambitious strategy to transform the former publishing house into an international, tech-driven, diversified media company.
The Sportal Media Group is Bulgaria`s leading digital media company with a particularly successful footprint in sports. The Group ranks among the largest internet media groups in the country, operating digital properties in categories such as sports, news & politics, business, lifestyle, e-commerce, and services as well as over 45 social media channels. Sportal Media Group`s most significant digital brands are Sportal.bg and Novini.bg. Established in 2006, Sportal.bg cemented its leadership as the undisputed, most successful digital sports platform providing up-to-date and reliable news, comments, analysis, statistics and interviews from a wide range of sports topics. With over 85,000,000 page views per month, they reach 55% of Bulgaria’s online population. Sportal.bg is the first Bulgarian digital brand offering its own web television service.
Digital Ventures is specialized in the development of sports-centric content management systems, which are highly regarded in the International sports, media, and advertising scene. As the owner of “Sportal365”, a sports content publishing platform designed specifically for sports news, galleries and videos, live statistics and live scores, Digital Ventures developed a content management system capable of aggregating and merging large amounts of sports data from leading sports content providers. Moreover, it is capable of integrating sports betting content and advertising in an unprecedented native way. The unique features of the Sportal365 CMS are specifically tailored to the needs of sports editors and sports advertisers.
«The investment in Sportal Media Group is a further milestone for Ringier as a digital media company with a strong journalistic DNA as well as an important sign for the future of our Global Media Division», says Ladina Heimgartner, Head Global Media of Ringier AG. «I am convinced that Ringier’s strong global publishing experience and Sportal`s digital platform know-how is a perfect fit to set innovative standards in sports media globally.»
«Together with Ringier we will be able to bring our leading digital brands to another level in every aspect and make them even more attractive for our loyal audience. At the same time, we will take globally our sports media knowledge and stellar content publishing platform which is a critical part of running a successful digital sports brand. The step we take today is a major one, and it is the beginning of a great venture in the highly competitive sports media industry», says Stilian Shishkov, CEO of the Sportal Media Group and Digital Ventures.
«Our majority stake acquisition in Sportal Media Group offers the potential to further scale unique sports media knowledge and build further expertise within Ringier’s existing digital media platforms. I am pleased that we are continuing our collaboration with Stilian Shishkov`s Sportal Media Group, an outstanding and groundbreaking player in the development of digital sports media business models. No other incumbent portal has the sophistication in terms of IT platform and content concepts», says Robin Lingg, the newly appointed Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Sportal Media Group.
Ringier AG, Corporate Communications
About Sportal Media Group, Bulgaria
The Sportal Media Group operates Sportal.bg, the undisputed, most successful sports portal in Bulgaria launched in March 2006. It employs over 60 journalists delivering over 300 daily news items from all over the world. The site currently receives over 85,000,000 page views monthly and also is the first Bulgarian website with its own web television service. Beside Sportal.bg, the group also operates Novini.bg, the most visited news portal in Bulgaria, as well as the leading Woman.bg, Profit.bg and several highly engaging social media channels. The group is the leading specialist in platform development and management of sports specific products and services combined with an excellent editorial team.