Ekspress Grupp acquires Lithuanian news portal lrytas.lt

Ekspress Grupp, the leading media holding company in the Baltic states, acquired the online news portal lrytas.lt from Lithuanian largest newspaper Lietuvos rytas.

Friday, on December 9, 2022 the deal was signed between AS Ekspress Grupp, and publisher UAB “Lietuvos rytas” for the acquisition of 100% of shares in the subsidiary company UAB “Lrytas” that publishes online media platform lrytas.lt. Parties have agreed that the transaction price and other terms are confidential. The transaction does not require prior approval of the Lithuanian competition authority because the aggregate turnover of the undertakings concerned is below the merger notification threshold provided in the Lithuanian Law on Competition.

Founded in 2006, lrytas.lt is one of the largest local news portals in Lithuania with 420 000 unique visitors daily (according to Gemius), has more than 50 employees and generates currently advertising revenues around 3 million euros per year. The transaction includes only lrytas.lt online platform and does not involve Lietuvos rytas printed publications. The lrytas.lt operates with separate editorial team from print newspaper.

Mari-Liis Rüütsalu, CEO of Ekspress Grupp, said that the transaction gives lrytas.lt a new strategic investor that has strong financial background and excellent knowledge of digital media business “The acquisition of UAB Lrytas is an organic step in our strategy and the main goal of this deal is to grow the digital media business. Ekspress Grupp acquires the online portal but keeps very close cooperation with Lietuvos rytas newspaper. The shared goal of Lrytas and Ekspress Grupp is to continue offering attractive and independent content for its readers. After the transaction, UAB Lrytas will continue to operate as a separate media company,” mentioned Rüütsalu.

Gedvydas Vainauskas, CEO of Lietuvos rytas stressed that the cooperation between print, TV and online media will continue. “33 years ago a group of similar-minded people founded the newspaper Lietuvos rytas which eventually became the largest and most influential daily newspaper in the country. In 1997 we launched its digital version – the first news portal in Lithuania which later grew into lrytas.lt, an independent online media channel. The logic of life and business dictates that it’s time to hand over the portal to a new owner with deeper expertise in online business. Being in reliable hands, Lrytas will remain at the forefront of journalism and continue providing relevant news and insights to the growing audience. The portal will also maintain cooperation with the newspaper Lietuvos Rytas and Lietuvos Rytas TV,” said Vainauskas.

The financial advisor of the deal was Swedbank and legal advisor Ellex Valiunas.