Hamburg, 23 May 2005 – Strategic Focus on Strong Market Positions and Growth Areas Sale of U.S. Publications to Meredith Corporation
Gruner + Jahr has reached an agreement in principle with Meredith Corporation to sell Family Circle, Parents, Child and Fitness magazines for $350 million in a transaction scheduled to close June 30, 2005. The closing of the transaction remains subject to negotiation of a definitive agreement as well as approval by the U.S. regulatory authorities and other conditions. As part of the transaction, G+J will have an option until June 30 to sell Inc. and Fast Company to Meredith.
With this move, Europe´s biggest magazine publisher will continue to concentrate on market segments in which it holds or can achieve leading and profitable positions. This growth strategy was reflected in the recent takeover of highly profitable Motor Presse Stuttgart (MPS) and its 140 quality magazines, which hold leading market positions in16 countries. Similarly, G+J recently entered into the joint venture Prinovis in order to reposition its European printing activities and improve its market share.
Dr. Bernd Kundrun, Chairman of the Board of G+J, stated: "In the next few years Gruner + Jahr will continue to push its expansion strategy into further acquisitions and large investments in innovation. Therefore we need to be disciplined, which means withdrawing from business activities that do not offer a viable prospects for achievingeither a leading market position or meeting our profitability requirements. We no longer saw such a prospect for our magazine business in the U.S. and for that reason decided upon this sale."
Axel Ganz, Member of the G+J board and head of the company´s U.S. and French magazines division commented: "Our U.S. business has been under heavy pressure in recent years and especially in the last few months. I am grateful to Russell Denson, the CEO of G+J U.S.A and his team. They have worked hard for improvement. I am convinced that we have found the best solution for our magazines and for our employees."
Despite the agreement in principle to sell its U.S. magazines business, G+J remains engaged in the U.S. printing market with its 100% stake in its printing subsidiary, Brown Printing Company (BPC). In February, G+J announced a $55 million investment to further improve the competitive position of BPC´s printing plants. BPC is the fourth largest printer of magazines and catalogs in the U.S.
Director, Media Relations
Gruner + Jahr AG & Co KG
Am Baumwall 11