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Norwegian media group Schibsted takes 10% stake in Scandi streamer Viaplay

Norwegian media group Schibsted has bought a 10.1% stake in stricken Scandi streaming service Viaplay.

Jørgen Madsen Lindemann

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed but it saw Viaplay shares rally by nearly 5% after a troubled six months. Shares in Schibsted dropped by around the same amount.

It follows a similar deal with outfit Canal+ in July which saw the French pay TV operator pick up a 12% stake.

The entire Viaplay group has effectively been up for sale since its second quarter interim report which wiped 33% off the company’s share price.

Viaplay axed 25% of its workforce and announced its intention to exit from the UK, US, Canada, Poland and the Baltics before 2024 to re-focus on the Nordics and Netherlands as it seeks to rebound from significant financial losses.

In 2022, Viaplay spent 29% of its total content investment on original fiction, but it accounted for just 8% of subscribers’ viewing time in minutes watched. Many of the scripted originals Viaplay acquired and produced did not pay off.

There has been a slew of senior exec departures over the summer including Fillipa Wallestam, head of scripted Marlene Billie Andreasen and senior VP of scripted Camille Rydbacken.

Anders Jensen stepped down as CEO in June as the company downgraded its short-term financial outlook, to be replaced by president Jørgen Madsen Lindemann.

Schibsted CEO Kristin Skogen Lund said: “Schibsted has a long history of investing in companies close to our core that benefit from our strength, and of seizing opportunities which arise in more uncertain times.

“Viaplay’s strong position as a streaming provider in the Nordics fits very well with our media operations, and we are confident that we, as a financially focused shareholder, can support value creation in the company.”

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