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The Edipresse Group is active in Switzerland, France, Spain, Portugal, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Romania and several countries in Asia including China and Hong Kong. It publishes over 160 titles and has more than 3,800 employees, of whom slightly under half are based in Switzerland. The group's development strategy centers on three simple principles. The first of these is to concentrate resources, both human and financial, on activities and countries where the company can achieve significant market share. The second principle expresses the corporate desire to publish quality titles, which clearly meet the needs of both readers and advertisers. The third principle concerns the special responsibilities involved in the publishing profession. In this regard, the Edipresse Group has created its own code of ethics and practice. Thanks to these rules, the Group's media pursue their role in a spirit consistent with the interests of democracy, while respecting the fundamental principles of the press: independence, freedom of expression and diversity.
Edipresse S.A. is the dominant media group in French-speaking Switzerland, and one of the country's top three newspaper publishers. The Lausanne-based company controls all three major French language dailies--Le Matin, 24 heures, and Tribune de Geneve--and publishes a long list of other newspaper and magazine titles, including free daily Le Matin Bleu, Tvguide, Tele-Top-Matin, Bilan, femina, terre&nature, Optima, and Journal de la Broye. The company also holds a 41 percent stake in Le Temps, in partnership with German-language rival Ringier. Edipresse's position in the already saturated Swiss market has provided the company with the foundation (and cash flow) to build an international network of magazine holdings. In Spain, the company owns such titles as Lecturas, Clara, Mujer 21, Habitania, Tu Bebe, Rutas del Mundo, Top Auto, Todo Plantas, and Comer y Beber, among others. The company's Portuguese operations, in a joint venture with Abril, include Telenovelas, Cosmopolitan, TV Mais, Activa, Caras, Super Interessante, and Exame, as well as several other titles. Edipresse has generally avoided larger markets in favor of smaller and emerging markets less served by its large scale multinational competitors. In this way the company has established operations in Poland, Ukraine, Romania, and Russia, in Eastern Europe, and China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, and Thailand in the Far East. Many of the company's acquisitions in these markets have been of smaller, family-owned companies--a reflection of the company's own status as a public company still under the control of the founding Lamunière family. Pierre Lamunière is company chairman, while Tibère Adler is the group's CEO. Edipresse is listed on the Swiss stock exchange. In 2005, the company posted revenues of CHF 894.39 million ($673.30 million).
While Edipresse was officially founded in 1988, the company stemmed from a company set up in the 1920s, which itself had roots reaching back to the turn of the 20th century--and as far back as the eighteenth century. The oldest member of Edipresse's newspaper portfolio was La Feuille d'Avis de Lausanne, which was published for the first time in 1762. That newspaper became a daily in 1872; in 1907, the newspaper operation was reorganized into a new company, Société de la Feuille d'Avis de Lausanne. The company by then owned its printing press, which was joined to the newspaper group as Imprimeries Réunies S.A. that same year. In 1911, Société de la Feuille d'Avis de Lausanne et des Imprimeries Réunies acquired a second newspaper, the daily Tribune de Lausanne, which had originally been published as L'Estafette in 1862, but which adopted its new name in 1893. Both newspaper grew into French-speaking Switzerland's largest newspapers.
In 1925, Jacques Lamunière, together with Samuel Payot and Charles Patru, founded the holding company Lousonna S.A. in order to acquire Société de la Feuille d'Avis de Lausanne et des Imprimeries Réunies. Lousonna became French-speaking Switzerland's first press-based holding company, and soon grew into the region's dominant publishing group, with operations in book publishing, printing, graphic arts, and distribution. In the 1930s, Lousonna added to its distribution operations, acquiring 50 percent stake in LESA S.A., which was then renamed as Kiosk S.A. In 1942, Lousanna acquired the third major French-language daily in Switzerland, La Suisse, through the purchase of a 40 percent in that paper's parent company, Sonor S.A.
Throughout the post-war period, Lousonna continued to build up its holdings, extending a dominant position over French-speaking Switzerland's newspaper market. In 1964, the company, by then led by Marc Lamunière, son of the company's founder, built a new 12-story headquarters building in Lausanne. The company also entered magazine publishing on a limited basis, with titles including femina, launched in 1962, and the business-oriented Bilan, launched in 1989.
The 1970s marked a period of new growth for the company. In 1972, Lousanna converted Le Tribune de Lausanne into a morning edition newspaper, renamed as Le Matin. The move proved successful, and Le Matin's circulation topped 65,000 by the end of the century.
Lousanna acquired Librarie Payot and Editions Payot Paris, the bookstore and publishing concerns owned by the Payot family, in 1973. In 1977, the company acquired Financière de Presse, which owned Naville S.A. In this way, the company gained control of the de facto monopoly of newspaper and magazine distribution in French-speaking Switzerland.
Into the early 1980s, the founding families behind Lousanna began the process of separating their interests. The Lamunière family bought 50 percent of Lousonna in 1982, while the Nicole family bought up the other half of the holding company, including the stake held by the Payot family, which in turn bought back control of Librarie Payot. The restructuring process was largely completed with the breakup of Lousonna into its printing and publishing halves. The latter was then taken over by the Lamunière family's holding company, Lamunière S.A. In order to ensure control of its newspaper and magazine distribution, Lamunière acquired a 51 percent stake in Naville S.A. in 1987. Finally, after Lamunière sold its 50 percent of Lousonna to the Nicole family, the Lamunières renamed their newspaper and magazine business as Edipresse S.A. in 1988.
International Expansion Starts in 1990
Edipresse took full control of Financière de Presse in 1988, and acquired control of Librarie de Payot, as well as another distributor, Office du Livre Fribourg. These three were merged into a new entity, Payot Naville Distribution in 1990. In that year, Edipresse sold a 65 percent stake in Payot Naville to Hachette as the group prepared to embark on a new strategic direction.
By 1990, Edipresse had become the dominant newspaper group in French-speaking Switzerland. Yet that market, with a population of just two million, offered only limited future growth for Edipresse. Rather than attempt an entry into the larger German-Swiss market (dominated by the Ringier family), Edipresse adopted a new international growth strategy.
Edipresse's first move beyond Switzerland came that same year, when the company acquired 75 percent of Spain's El Hogar y la Moda S.A. (HYMSA) publishing group. Founded in 1909, HYMSA, was, like Edipresse, a family-owned group. HYMSA brought Edipresse one of Spain's top magazine publishing groups, forming the basis of a portfolio that grew to more than 20 titles by the mid-2000s.
From Spain, Edipresse entered the Portuguese market, buying majority control of two companies in that country, Publicaçoes Projornal and Reporteres Associados, both based in Lisbon, in 1992. Also that year, the company established its first operations in France, creating the subsidiary Presse Publications France S.A.
Yet through the mid-1990s, Edipresse's primary international growth focus was on the Iberian peninsula. The company continued seeking new acquisitions in both Spain and Portugal. In 1994, the company acquired 70 percent of Family Circle S.A. in Spain. The company also added to its portfolio through a number of successful launches, including the women's magazine Clara, in 1992, parenting magazine Tu Bebe in 1993, the needlework monthly Labores del Hogar Ideas y Puntos, and cooking magazine Comer Bien, in 1994.
Edipresse acquired full control of its Portuguese operations in 1996, and boosted its holding in Family Circle S.A. to 100 percent. The company also boosted its stake in HYMSA to nearly 85 percent in 1997. By then, the company had successfully reduced its reliance on the Swiss market. Between 1990 and 1995, the share of foreign revenues on the group's total had risen from zero percent to 23 percent. By the end of the decade, Edipresse's international operations already provided more than 40 percent of the company's total sales.
In the meantime, Edipresse had begun to target expansion beyond Spain and Portugal. The company entered Poland in 1995, buying up a 50 percent stake in Helvetica Sarl, based in Warsaw. Edipresse acquired full control of that company in 1998, renaming it as Edipresse Polska. At the same time, the company entered a 50-50 joint-venture with the Marie Claire Group, forming MC Press Sarl in Warsaw.
Multinational Future in the New Century
By the end of 1998, Edipresse had extended its operations to Romania, buying a 50 percent stake in the Romanian Publishing Group, and Greece, where the company acquired 50 percent of Hellenic Printing S.A. and Liberis Publications. Through Liberis, which went public in 2000, Edipresse also gained control of another Greek group, Desmi Publishing.
Back in Switzerland, Edipresse merged its title Le Nouveau Quotidien with prominent Geneva title Le Journal de Genève, creating the new title Le Temps. Launched in 1998, Le Temps quickly become one of French-speaking Switzerland's leading newspapers. In 2001, the company purchased the advertising sales agency Senger Media, which was subsequently renamed as Edipub. The company also acquired an additional 20 percent of Le Temps that year. Despite the crowded Swiss newspaper market, in 2005, the company achieved success with the launch of a new free daily newspaper, Le Matin Bleu.
Yet international growth remained a company priority. Edipresse entered the Ukraine market in 2000, creating a subsidiary in that country and acquiring the women's monthly magazine Edinstvennaya. Over the next five years, the company built that title into a leader in the market, while expanding its portfolio of titles to 10 by 2006. The company also continued adding to its holdings in Poland, buying up Przekroj, Pani, and Urod in 2001.
In 2003, Edipresse moved into Russia, buying majority control of Moscow's Kone Liga Publishing House, founded in 1993. That company, renamed as Edipresse-Konliga ZAO, added its portfolio of more than 20 magazine titles to Edipresse's growing international list.
As it turned toward mid-decade, Edipresse began searching farther abroad for its next growth effort. In 2005, the company formed a new subsidiary in Hong Kong, called Edipresse Asia Limited. That company then acquired 70 percent of Hong Kong's Communication Management Limited, one of the Asian region's leading magazine groups. The purchase not only gave the company a strong portfolio in the Hong Kong market, it also gave the company a range of titles in mainland China. Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore. The purchase helped boost the company's sales to nearly CHF 895 million ($675 million) and cemented the company's transformation from a French Swiss-focused newspaper publisher to one of the world's fastest-growing international publishing groups.
Agedip S.A.; Center d'impression Edipresse Genève S.A.; Center d'impression Edipresse Lausanne S.A.; Communication Management Ltd (Hong Kong); Edimpresa-Editora Lda (Portugal); Edipresse A.S. SRL (Romania); Edipresse Asia Ltd (Hong Kong); Edipresse Hymsa S.A. (Spain); Edipresse International Sàrl (Luxemburg); Edipresse Livres S.A.; Edipresse Polska S.A.; Edipresse Publications S.A.; Edipresse Publiventas S.A. (Spain); Edipresse Ukraine LLC; Edipresse-Konliga ZAO (Russia); Edipub S.A.; Focus Ediciones SL (Spain); Illustrated Magazine Publishing Company Ltd (Hong Kong); Imprimerie Corbaz S.A.; IRL-Imprimeries Réunies Lausanne SA; Libedi S.A. (Luxemburg); Office Share Lda (Portugal); Presse Publications SR S.A.; SA de la Tribune de Genève; Semana SL (Spain); Servicios de Edición México SA de CV; Sucesores de Rivadeneyra S.A. (Spain).
Ringier AG; Edipresse S.A.; Tamedia AG; AG fuer die Neue Zuercher Zeitung; Basler Zeitung AG; Espace Media Groupe; LIMMATDRUCK AG; AZ Medien AG; St Galler Tagblatt AG; Suedostschweiz Mediengruppe; LZ Medien Holding; Zollikofer AG; Huber and Company AG; Der Bund Verlag AG; Zuerichsee Medien AG; Buechler Grafino AG.