Swiss Picture Agency Keystone to be owned by APA and SDA

Zuerich/Berne/Vienna (OTS) - APA - Austria Presse Agentur and Schweizerische Depeschenagentur (SDA) plan to acquire Keystone AG, the largest picture agency in Switzerland, as of January 1, 2008. Subject to antitrust approval the takeover will see APA taking over about 60 percent and SDA about 40 percent. Keystone�'s annual revenues are about ten million Euros, the company has a staff of 90 employees. Keystone is an independent, private joint-stock company currently owned by Walter Grolimund and Theodor Hummel. It was agreed not to disclose the purchase price.

With this acquisition, APA continues to pursue its growth and internationalization strategy. "Keystone is a key company in the Swiss media industry. With the acquisition of the majority share of one of the largest picture agencies in Europe we are taking a decisive step for positioning APA as regional information service provider in the centre of Europe", explains Wolfgang Vyslozil, APA�'s Chief Executive Officer.

With this investment, SDA, which previously has not operated any picture business, can now cover the entire spectrum of multi-media news services. "This takeover is very important for SDA and for the Swiss media, and we are very pleased with this solution", remarks Hans-Heinrich Coninx, President of SDA�'s Board.

Walter Grolimund, CEO of Keystone is also convinced that the best possible decision has been reached for Keystone�'s future: "I am pleased that we managed to find a strong succession plan. Keystone will still be operated independently and is in a strong position for the future."

As part of APA�'s internationalization plans, Keystone is the largest acquisition thus far. "In our ‘APA 2010�' strategy we planned growth through acquisitions, and thus are expanding our business activity. The acquisition of a majority share in Keystone will result in revenue increases of about one-fifth for the APA Group, and this will take place in an international growth market that is very exciting for us", remarks Peter Kropsch, Managing Director of APA and responsible for M & A management.

Walter Grolimund (Keystone) will stay with Keystone AG as operating President of the Board of Directors; Wolfgang Vyslozil and Peter Kropsch shall represent APA on the Keystone Board. SDA will be represented by Markus Schwab, Chief Executive Officer of SDA and Editor-in-Chief Bernard Maissen. Schwab will also act as Delegate of the Board of Directors.

About Keystone:

Keystone was established in 1953 and represents internationally renowned photographers and the world's leading picture agencies for news, special interests, and stock images exclusively in Switzerland. Over 20 full-time as well as numerous freelance photographers supply images for distribution to all of Switzerland's daily newspapers as well as most of the weekly and monthly magazines, Internet portals and Swiss television through a network of ten regional bureaus. A large number of advertising agencies and communication departments at the major banks, insurance companies, service and industrial enterprises complete Keystone's customer base. The range of images offered by Keystone encompasses catalogue and historical images besides news and theme pictures. Today, over 2 million images are available in Keystone's digital database for download; in addition, over 11 million images are on hand in the agency's archives.

About APA:

APA - Austria Press Agency is the national news agency and the leading information service provider in Austria. The company is cooperatively-organized and owned by 16 Austrian daily newspapers and the national public broadcasting company. The APA Group is active in the business segments ‘news agency�', ‘information management�' and ‘information technology�'. APA�'s editorial staff looks after real-time news services in text, pictures, graphics and video; its subsidiaries provide press release services, databanks and media monitoring services, along with information technology solutions. The companies of the APA Group provide their services to professional users in the markets ‘media�', ‘political institutions�' and ‘corporates�'. APA fulfills its tasks in independence and in accordance with a policy of reliability, speed, and fair balance. APA Group revenues are about 43 million Euros, which it achieves with around 300 employees.

About SDA:

Schweizerische Depeschenagentur AG (SDA) is the national and largest news agency in Switzerland. Working in the three languages of the country, German, French and Italian, it circulates information round-the-clock about politics, economy, society and culture. Its customers include nearly all the Swiss media and some dozen foreign media. Moreover, about 250 private and public clients use SDA information services. SDA is a private joint-stock company owned mainly by Swiss media companies and therefore has a private legal status. Independence, solidarity and capacity for innovation are the fundamental values of the more than 100 years old Swiss News agency. SDA Group revenues are about 21,9 million Euros, which it achieves with around 220 employees.

Inquiry information:

Barbara Rauchwarter

Head of Marketing & Communication

APA - Austria Press Agency

Tel.: +43/1/36060-5700

mailto: barbara.rauchwarter@apa.at


Bernard Maissen


Schweizerische Depeschen Agentur (SDA)

Tel.: +41/31/309 33 33

mailto: bernard.maissen@sda.ch


Walter Grolimund

President and CEO

Keystone AG

Tel.: +41/44/200 13 00

mailto: wgrolimund@keystone.ch