The European changes ownership

  • Bernd Förtsch, by way of his Börsenmedien AG publishing group, acquires 78% shareholding in The European magazine
  • Expansion planned for both German-language print edition and English-language online version
  • For Börsenmedien AG, acquisition of The European marks the launch of the publishing group’s expansion and internationalisation through organic growth and acquisitions

Berlin, December 10th, 2014

Börsenmedien AG, the German publishing group renowned for its weekly stock market magazine Der Aktionär, is acquiring The European, a German-language magazine known for its debates and opinion pieces on current political, economic and social issues. The acquisition agreement was signed in Berlin on December 6th. The Börsenmedien Group’s holdings also include Deutsches Anleger Fernsehen (DAF), Germany’s only television channel dedicated exclusively to financial markets and investing, as well as the Plassen Verlag, Germany’s leading publisher for business titles.

The European, a magazine of debate and opinion, appears in both printed and online versions. The magazine was founded by Alexander Görlach, who is serving as the magazine’s publisher and editor-in-chief and was previously the executive editor of the online part of Cicero, a Berlin-based political magazine. The European has been in publication since 2009 in its original German-language online form, since 2010 in an English-language online version, and since 2012 also as a quarterly print publication.

The European is now being slated for growth. Starting in 2015, the print magazine’s publication frequency will be boosted to ten issues per year. The English-language website will also be expanded. “The European has filled a void in the German market, namely the demand for lively debate,” says Alexander Görlach, founder of The European. “Through this approach, we have to this date been able to draw contributions from more than 3,000 authors from over 40 different countries, while building an enthusiastic readership. The English-language version reflects our international character. It is thus only fitting that The European, under its new owner, should continue to grow in both of these areas.”

In its debates, The European has never shied away from even the most heated controversies. “The media in Germany are all too often absorbed in self-righteous indignation and an almost pornographic fascination with overhyped scandals,” explains Görlach.“ This weakens the journalistic role which the media should be playing in a democracy: informing the public, stimulating debate particularly on thorny social issues, and going on the attack where there is misgovernment, mismanagement or wrongdoing to be exposed – and not dwelling on pseudo-scandals which aim only to boost readership. The success of The European shows that there is indeed a market for a high-quality magazine that focuses on today’s key issues and pressing questions. Now that we are firmly positioned in the market and established among our readers, we are ready to take the next step in our path of growth – and we are delighted to have found in the Börsenmedien AG an ideal partner as we move forward with these plans.”

“We want to build upon the strong and highly profitable position of Der Aktionär, one of Germany’s leading weekly magazines of business and investing, to become the most relevant independent provider of financial, business and political content for the German market,” says Bernd Förtsch, founder and CEO of Börsenmedien AG, in explaining his vision. “We aim to achieve this not only through strategic purchases, such as our recent acquisition of The European, but also through strong organic growth, such as through expansion of our DAF television programming and our Internet presence.”

The merger of the two publishing enterprises will also bring advantages for advertisers on both sides: “For our advertising clients, the acquisition will now open up the possibility to profit from an unparalleled total package to reach Germany’s most important political leaders, social opinion drivers and business decision-makers, coupled closely together with another uniquely attractive target group: high-net-worth individuals,” explain Tom Eidloth, Head of Sales and Marketing at Börsenmedien AG, and Zakaria Rahim, Head of Sales and Marketing at The European.

Alexander Görlach, the 37-year-old founder of The European, will remain the magazine’s publisher and editor-in-chief, with a future 15 per cent shareholding. Together with Guillaume Vaslin, the company’s business head, Görlach will push forward with the expansion plans, working closely with his team. Görlach will also assume an overarching role across the Börsenmedien Group for political affairs and will, in addition, advise the company on future strategic acquisition opportunities, both in Germany and internationally.

About The European
The European is a magazine of debate and opinion whose name alludes to Europe’s vibrant culture of political debate. In open, democratic and secular societies, there are no absolute truths. Answers to the day’s most pressing issues can only be attained through vigorous debate. The European is firmly committed to this culture of debate, distilling it into a modern publication for today’s readers, and serving as a catalyst for social change.

The European has published opinion pieces from Nobel laureates Joseph Stiglitz, Robert Solow, Elfriede Jelinek and Martti Ahtisaari, from noted business leaders such as Richard Branson, Michael Bloomberg, Dietmar Hopp or Götz Werner, and from major international political figures such as Jean-Claude Juncker, Mario Monti and Romano Prodi. Other authors who have published their writings in the magazine include leaders in the world of arts and culture such as Marina Abramovic, T.C. Boyle and Sir Norman Foster, and from the world of science such as Kevin Kelly, Rolf-Dieter Heuer, Saskia Sassen and Anne-Marie Slaughter. As a magazine committed to diversity of opinion, The European has published pieces from all of the political parties represented in the German Bundestag on both the left and right, including such national figures as Ursula von der Leyen, Wolfgang Schäuble and Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

About Börsenmedien AG
Der Aktionär, the flagship publication of Börsenmedien AG, has already become Germany’s most successful weekly magazine focused on investments, with a paid circulation of approx. 35,000 copies each week, and is officially recognised by all of the German exchanges as a vehicle for investor announcements. Der Aktionär enjoys particular strength in its online edition, where according to a recent study by pv digest, the media research firm, it ranked #1 in its November issue among publisher apps in terms of sales on Apple’s iPhone newspaper and magazine shop in Germany, ahead of such periodicals as Sport Bild plus, The Economist on iPhone, WirtschaftsWoche and the New York Times. According to another recent ranking on the success of digital periodicals published in June by Media Perspektiven, Der Aktionär is Germany’s most successful investing magazine; ranked against all online magazines and newspapers in Germany, Der Aktionär came in at a respectable fourth place with its online circulation of 17,285 copies (IVW I/2014) – directly behind three of Germany’s most famous general news publications: Der Spiegel, Bild am Sonntag and Die Zeit.

Through its Deutsches Anleger Fernsehen (DAF) television channel, Börsenmedien AG has offered dedicated investor programming in online form since August 2006 at www.daf.fm and, since December of 2007, via cable and satellite television, providing comprehensive coverage of financial and investing news. Over half of DAF’s daytime content is live reporting. Furthermore, in order to ensure that its content is close to the key financial markets, DAF operates correspondent offices in Frankfurt and New York, supporting its main studios in Kulmbach, Germany. Programming is switched over to these live reporters several times each day. All of DAF’s content is available 24/7 and free of charge on the DAF video portal.

In October of 2013, Börsenmedien AG brought together all of its book publishing activities into Plassen Verlag, a dedicated new brand. Today, Plassen is Germany’s leading specialty publisher for business titles, featuring such authors as George Soros, Bill Clinton, Ben Horowitz, Robert Shiller and many others.