The Swedish publisher Eniro AB is buying its Norwegian rival Findexa A/S for a combination of cash and new shares worth roughly 7.9 billion Swedish kroner (about US$1.01 billion). The deal will further strengthen Eniro’s position in the Nordic market, giving it the dominant position in print and online directories in Sweden and Norway, along with a challenger position in Denmark and a strong competitor position in Finland.
Eniro CEO Tomas Franzen is positioning the deal as a way to strengthen its home market position, increase cost efficiency and develop a more efficient capital structure. Also, in an era where Eniro’s core business in Sweden has faltered, acquisition growth can serve as a substitute for core growth, and the increased scale gives Eniro more customers to reach with multiple product offerings.
Franzen made it clear when he joined Eniro that he would focus on strengthening Eniro’s position in its core Nordic market, making peripheral markets non-strategic. Soon after, Eniro sold off many Eastern European operations. An exception was made for Poland, where the Eniro property has performed pretty well. This acquisition is certainly consistent with Franzen’s pledge.
Eniro was a very strong print + online player in the Nordic market before this deal. After Findexa, it would appear that all roads to the Nordic SME market lead will go through Stockholm.