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Axel Springer and Ringier to merge east European operations

Swiss media company Ringier and German publishing concern Axel Springer form joint venture in centra

Axel Springer's subsidiaries in Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary will be combined with Ringier's operations in Serbia, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Hungary. They had combined revenues of €414m in 2009. The venture will have 4,800 employees.

The merged entity will bring together 107 print and 74 online publications as well as six printing houses, the companies say. Axel and Ringier will each hold a 50 per cent stake in the Zurich-based JV.

They plan to invest €300m over the next three to five years and later float it in the stock market. Axel will pay €125m for Ringier's operations and will also contribute €50m for the JV, which will be used as investment capital.