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Lord Rothermere rejected freesheet partnership with Schibsted

While new CEO of pan-European media group Schibsted, Rolv Erik Ryssdal, is hard at work trying to charm the analysts of the world’s financial centres, its now retired CEO, Kjell Aamot, is giving the odd talk closer to home and sharing some fascinating tidbits while he’s at it.

At a recent Norwegian media conference he talked of a partnership he offered Lord Rothermere, the proprietor of Daily Mail and General Trust Plc (DMGT), while sharing a cab with him a few years ago.

- I asked him if he wanted to team up with us to launch a freesheet in France. He declined and said he had no faith in freesheets. If he were to start a freesheet it would be to protect newspapers such as The Evening Standard. In the same cab was a representative for a French media company. He called me later and asked if Schibsted was interested in a partnership, Aamot, told Kampanje.

That was the start of what is now the rather successful freesheet 20 Minutes, which I believe is jockeying with Metro’s French edition for the position as France’s most read newspaper. Aamot said he remembered the conversation with Lord Rothermere vividly in light of how Evening Standard was sold to former KGB-agent Alexander Lebedev earlier this year and last month was turned into a freesheet…


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