Bonnier Business Information will be merging with the Ratos-owned company Infodata. Together the companies will form a European market leader in databases and digital business information. The newly formed group, with approximately 2,300 employees in 18 countries, is expected to have sales this year of roughly SEK 3.4bn and a profit (EBITA) of just under SEK 350m. Ratos will own 80% and Bonnier just under 20% of the new group.
Bonnier Business Information ("BBI") today comprises five business areas. Its service offering covers direct marketing services, business intelligence monitoring and analysis, company and product databases, credit reports, news services and advanced IT services in CRM, among other areas. The group has grown from sales of SEK 110m upon its establishment in 1989 to approximately SEK 2,360m in 2004 and has over 1,900 employees. Much of this growth was built upon a number of major acquisitions, of which the most recent were the purchases of Dun & Bradstreet's Nordic and Central European operations in 2003 and 2004. The acquisitions were carried out with continued good profitability.
Infodata, which today has more than 400 employees at five offices in Sweden, had sales of approximately SEK 800m last year. Its business is focused on address lists and direct marketing services; however, the group also provides a wide range of products and services, including company information, IT solutions, telemarketing, subscription services and information monitoring.
"This is an ideal industrial deal," says Lars Save, Managing Director of BBI and CEO-elect of the new group. "Due to the technological development during the last ten years, the economies of scale in our business have become very tangible. By co-ordinating the operations of BBI and Infodata, we will achieve cost advantages as well as opportunities for a considerably broader customer base."
The new group will be formed through a transfer of Bonnier's and Ratos's shares in BBI and Infodata, respectively, to a new company. Ratos's ownership stake will amount to slightly more than 80%, while Bonnier's stake will be just under 20%. In addition to its shares, Bonnier will own a convertible debenture, which upon conversion would correspond to a further 10% ownership stake. The deal also includes Bonnier & Bonnier's 25% holding in the O-List-quoted IT group Addnode, which will be transferred to the new group.
Prior to the merger, the owners of BTJ Infodata decided, after having achieved the synergies that existed between Infodata and BTJ Nordic, to break up the group into Infodata and BTJ Nordic. In connection with this break-up, Litorina and Biblioteksföreningen will be selling their participating interests in Infodata to Ratos. All three parties will remain as owners of BTJ Nordic with Ratos increasing its share to approximately 60%.
Ratos's combined additional investment caused by the break-up of BTJ Infodata and the merger between Infodata and BBI will amount to SEK 505m. The book value of Ratos holding in BTJ Nordic will be approximately SEK 15m and in the newly formed BBI/Infodata Group approximately SEK 790m.
"Through today's deal we will achieve several positive effects," comments Arne Karlsson, CEO of Ratos. "The merger of BBI and Infodata creates a competitive, leading European business information company with favourable prospects for continued growth and maintained profitability. At the same time, the work on increasing market orientation and improving the profitability of BTJ Nordic can be carried out with greater impetus."
The deal is subject to approval from relevant competition authorities.
For additional information, please contact:
Arne Karlsson, CEO Ratos, +46 8 700 17 00
Lars Save, Managing Director Bonnier Business Information, +46 70 590 18 22
Anna-Karin Celsing, Head of Corporate Communications Ratos, +46 70 399 62 39