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SanomaWSOY buys Metro, free daily paper

SanomaWSOY Oyj, the largest media company in the Nordic region, bought the Finnish daily newspaper of Metro International SA to expand its portfolio of free sheets. The free sheet Metro, published by Metro Finland, is distributed in 18 towns around southern Finland. The majority of its 346,000 readers are in the Helsinki metropolitan area. Metro is the fifth most read printed news media in Finland after Helsingin Sanomat, Ilta-Sanomat, Iltalehti, and Aamulehti. Metro Finland's net sales amounted to € 5.8 million in 2005, and it has 39 employees.
Free sheets like Metro and Uutislehti 100 are experiencing a strong growth. They are excellently suited to young readers and to our media customers interested in this target group. The deal will further strengthen Sanoma's position as a free sheet publisher in our core area, the Uusimaa region, says Mikael Pentikäinen, President of Sanoma Corporation.
Metro makes an excellent complement to our product range. Uutislehti 100 and Metro will continue to be published in parallel such that both have slightly different target groups and distribution areas. Thus we will optimise good coverage and contents meeting the target groups' needs. Also, we can offer our advertisers either a broader or a better-targeted channel. Through the Metro brand and the association with Metro International's international network, we will be able to actively participate in developing the free sheets distributed in public transport, says Niko Ruokosuo, President of Sanoma Kaupunkilehdet.
A franchise agreement with Sanoma allows Metro International to maintain its existing global reach which is important to our international advertisers who are attracted to Metro International's unique pan-European distribution platform. The franchise agreement also enables Sanoma to develop the Finnish market for free sheets under the global Metro brand - to the benefit of both parties. In addition, the transaction allows Metro International to reallocate resources to other markets, Pelle Törnberg, CEO of Metro International says.
Sanoma Kaupunkilehdet Oy publishes free sheets Uutislehti 100 and Vartti (for Helsinki metropolitan area), the pickup point sheet V, Itäväylä (for the Porvoo region), the Kellokas sheets (for the Keski-Uusimaa region), Koillis-Helsingin Lähisanomat (for North-Eastern Helsinki), Lappeenrantalainen (for the Lappeenranta region) and Kaupunkilehti Seiska (for the Kouvola region). Sanoma is the leading newspaper publisher in Finland and a division of the SanomaWSOY Group.
Metro is the largest and fastest growing international free sheet in the world. 68 Metro editions are published in 92 major cities in 20 countries in 19 languages across Europe, North & South America and Asia. (sanomawsoy.fi)