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02 July 2021
press release

Bulgaria: Schoenherr advises Ringier on the acquisition of Sportal Media Group and Digital Ventures

Schoenherr advised Swiss-based media company Ringier on the acquisition of a majority stake in the leading Bulgarian sports news portal – Sportal Media Group – and an affiliated IT company behind the leading international Sports Content Management System, Sportal365 – Digital Ventures OOD.

Both acquisitions were negotiated and signed as one transaction and closed simultaneously on 31 May 2021. Schoenherr advised Ringier on all aspects of the transaction, including a legal due diligence review of both targets and relevant subsidiaries, advising on the deal structuring, negotiation of the transaction documentation, and has been assisting with the merger clearance of the transaction (required in Serbia).

"We were happy to support Ringier on this transaction and Ringier's entry to the Bulgarian market," said partner Alexandra Doytchinova, who led the Schoenherr team. "I am also pleased that we are strengthening our top position in M&A advisory in the TMT sector. The deal is expected to be one of the biggest in Bulgaria for 2021 generally and in the TMT sector. It demonstrates that digital businesses as well as software developers in Bulgaria are flourishing and attracting investor interest."

Ringier AG is a Swiss media giant operating in Europe, Asia and Africa. Its portfolio includes around 125 subsidiaries in the print, digital media, radio, ticketing, entertainment and e-commerce sectors. As a venture capital provider, Ringier supports innovative digital start-ups. Founded in 1833, Ringier has consistently invested in digitalisation and expansion. In 2019, the company had some 7,100 employees, operating in 19 countries, generated revenues of CHF 984.8m, CHF 504.6m of which come from digital media. Today, over 72 % of its operating profit is generated from digital activities where Ringier is a leader among European media companies. 

The Sportal Media Group is a leading digital media company in Bulgaria with a particularly successful footprint in sports. The Group ranks among the largest internet media groups in the country, operating digital properties in categories such as sports, news & politics, business, lifestyle, e-commerce and services as well as over 45 social media channels. The Sportal Media Group's most significant digital brands are, and is the first Bulgarian digital brand offering its own web television service.

Digital Ventures is active in the development of content management systems for the sports sector. The company owns Sportal365, a publishing platform for sports content that specialises in news, image galleries and videos, live statistics and live results from the sports sector. The unique features of the Sportal365 CMS are specifically tailored to the needs of sports editors and sports advertisers.

The Schoenherr team advising Ringier on this transaction was led by Alexandra Doytchinova (partner) who was supported by Stela Pavlova-Kaneva (attorney at law). The legal team further included Radoslav Chemshirov (attorney at law) who led the due diligence and the regulatory workstreams, Ivelina Vassileva (attorney at law), Galina Petkova (attorney at law) and Kristina Chakarova (associate), as well as Srdjana Petronijevic (partner) and Minela Sehovic (attorney at law) who were responsible for the Serbian merger control clearance.

Law office Jordanov, Valkov & Partners (Lex Consulting) advised the sell-side.


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