Ekspress Grupp acquires Lithuanian online news portal lrytas.lt
AS Ekspress Grupp, one of the leading media groups in the Baltics, has acquired online Lithuanian news portal lrytas.lt from Lietuvos Rytas, the largest daily newspaper in Lithuania.
On Friday, Ekspress Group signed an agreement to purchase 100 percent of the shares on online news portal lrytas.lt, a subsidiary of Lrytas AB. According to a press release, both parties involved agreed that details related to the cost and terms of the transaction would remain confidential.
There is no requirement for prior approval from the Lithuanian Competition Authority as the combined turnover of the transaction falls below the threshold for notification under the Lithuanian Competition Law.
Founded in 2006, lrytas.lt is one of the largest news portals in Lithuania, with 420,000 visitors per day according to international research and technology analysts Gemius.
The company has over 50 employees and an annual advertising revenue of around €3 million.
According to the press release, the deal only covers the lrytas.lt online platform and does not include the printed edition of Lietuvos Rytas. Therefore, Irytas.lt will be run by a separate editorial team from that of the print newspaper.
Ekspress Grupp CEO Mari-Liis Rüütsalu, said that the deal means Lrytas has a new strategic investor with a strong financial background and excellent knowledge of the digital media business. "The acquisition of UAB Lrytas is the next step in the realization of our strategy and the main objective of the transaction is to continue the growth of our digital media business. Ekspress Group is acquiring the online portal, which will continue to work very closely with the Lietuvos Rytas newspaper. The common goal of Lrytas and Ekspress Grupp is to continue to provide attractive and independent content to its readers. Following the transaction, UAB Lrytas will continue to operate as a separate media company," Rüütsalu said.
Gedvydas Vainauskas, CEO of Lietuvos Rytas, stressed that the cooperation between print, TV and online media will continue. "33 years ago, a group of like-minded people founded Lietuvos Rytas, which eventually went on to become the largest and most influential daily newspaper in the country. In 1997, we launched a digital version - the first news portal in Lithuania, which later grew into the independent online media channel, lrytas.lt," Vainauskas recalled. "Life and business logic dictated that it was time to hand over the portal to a new owner with deeper knowledge of the web business," he said.
"Irytas is in safe hands and will remain at the forefront of journalism and continue to provide relevant news and insights to a growing audience. The portal will also continue its cooperation with the Lietuvos Rytas newspaper and Lietuvos Rytas TV," Vainauskas added.
AS Ekspress Grupp is one of the leading media groups in the Baltics, and is actively involved in the production of online media content, as well as the publishing of newspapers, magazines and books. The group also operates an electronic ticketing platform and ticket outlets in Estonia and Latvia. The company, which was founded in 1989, now employs over 1,400 people.
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Editor: Michael Cole