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Ringier set to take over Le Temps newspaper

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Ringier set to take over Le Temps newspaper
10:08 CEST+02:00
Ringier, the largest international media company operating in Switzerland, announced on Friday that it is is taking over Le Temps, the French-language newspaper based in Geneva.

Confirming earlier reports, Zurich-based Ringier, which already owns 46.2 percent of the paper, said it will buy out an equal share held by Tamedia, another firm based in Zurich.

Ringier did not say how much it will pay for the deal, which will give it 92.5 percent ownership of Le Temps.

Three minority shareholders, including Geneva banker Claude Denole and the association and staff of Le Monde continue to own the rest of the paper, Ringier and Tamedia said in a joint news release.

The two companies announced back in October 2013 that they wanted a single owner to take over the publication, Switzerland’s only national French-language daily.

Several entities and individuals expressed interest in taking over Le Temps, including a group of investors supported by the Cercle des Amis du Temps, an association interested in ensuring that the quality paper continue publishing.

But Ringier and Tamedia reserved the right for one of them to take full control of the paper if they felt the offers made were insufficient.

Swiss broadcaster RTS said the Cercle des Amis offered eight million francs for the journal, while Ringier and Tamedia wanted 20 million francs, a sum that some experts felt was too high.

Ringier said its acquisition showed the company's attachment for French-speaking Switzerland (Suisse Romande).

"Le Temps is an affair of the heart," Marc Walder, Ringier CEO said in a statement. 

Le Temps is regarded by many as the “paper of record” for French-speaking Switzerland but it has struggled lately.

With a drop in circulation (currently around 39,700) and advertising revenues forcing staff cuts, the paper recently erected a paywall for its website.

Although only founded in 1998, it is the result of a merger between two papers dating back to the 1790s and Le Nouveau Quotidien. 

Christian Campiche, vice-president of Impressum, the Swiss journalists' asssociation, said he hoped Ringier would conserve Le Temps' editorial staff.

"There are no miracles," Campiche is quoted as saying by the ATS news agency.

"Le Temps has given itself the means to do investigations and in-depth reports," he said.

"And that is only possible with sufficient staff."

Ringier owns 120 news­papers and mag­a­zines, runs sev­eral ra­dio and TV stations and operates more than 80 web and mo­bile plat­forms in 14 coun­tries.

Among its better known Swiss titles are the Blick and SonntagsBlick newspapers and L'Hebdo and L'Illustré magazines.

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