Carl Allers Etablissement A/S
Carl Allers Etablissement A/S
Sales: DKK 3.59 billion ($632.2 million)(2004)
NAIC: 511120 Periodical Publishers; 511110 Newspaper Publishers
Carl Allers Etablissement A/S is one of the Scandinavian region's leading media groups. The company focuses primarily on publishing its wide range of some 70 weekly magazines in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland. The company claims an impressive market share, with more than 70 percent of the weekly market in Denmark, around 80 percent in Sweden, more than 50 percent in Norway, and, in Finland, its youngest market, 26 percent. Allers' Danish publications include the television listings magazines Se og Hor (circulation of 215,000) and Billed Bladet (183,000), the women's weekly Femina and the family-oriented Familie Journalen, as well as a variety of special interest titles, including Antik og Auktion, Cross Words, Fiction, and Mad og Bolig. In Sweden, the company's top-selling titles include Hemmets Journal, Allers (a localized version of Familie Journalen ), Hemmets Veckotidning, and Aret Runt, the women's titles Allas Veckotidning and Svensk Damtidning, as well as the television listings weekly Se og Hor. Allers top-selling titles in Norway include localized versions of its flagship publications, including Allers, KK (the Norwegian version of Femina ) and Se og Hor, as well as other strong-selling titles such as MAG and Norsk Golf. Allers entry into the Finnish market came about in 1992. The company's main title in that country is the television listing weekly 7Päivää. Allers also operates a range of Web sites supporting its magazine titles in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland. In addition to its family-oriented titles, Allers has also established a business-to-business operation, buying up several companies in the early 2000s. Carl Allers Etablissement remains tightly controlled by the founding Aller family. In order to provide a degree of liquidity for its shareholders, the company sold a portion of its B class shares to Rella Holding A/S, a company created and listed on the Copenhagen Stock Exchange in 1991 as a vehicle for this purpose.
19th Century Origins
Carl Allers Etablissement grew from its origins as a small husband-and-wife run publishing house in Copenhagen to become one of the Scandinavian region's leading magazine publishers. The company was founded in 1873 in Denmark by Carl Aller, then 27 years old, and his wife Laura Aller, then 24 years old. By 1874, the Allers had already launched their first magazine, a weekly originally called Nordisk Monster Tidende. The magazine, guided by Laura Aller, quickly captured a leading share of the Danish women's market. It was also to become the Aller company's flagship publication in the future, remaining in publication (as Femina ) into the 21st century.
Laura Aller continued to provide the editorial leadership for the company as it added new titles into the 20th century. The company's next major success came as early as 1877, with the launch of the family-oriented weekly, Illustreret Familie Journal. That magazine, which continued its popularity under the name Familie Journalen, pioneered this weekly magazine segment in Denmark. The company quickly became Denmark's top magazine publisher, a position it never relinquished.
As the Allers approached the turn of the 20th century, they began to develop an interest in the neighboring Scandinavian markets. In 1894, the company set up a subsidiary in Sweden, Svenska Aller AB, which began operations in Helsingborg. Instead of developing an entirely new format for this market, the Aller company instead created a localized version of its successful Danish titles. As such the company's first Sweden magazine appeared under the title of Aller's Familie Journal. Femina was also to become a leading Swedish title.
The Allers next turned their attention to the Norwegian market, setting up a subsidiary there in 1897. The Familie Journal format once again provided the company's entry into the new market. Like its Swedish counterpart, the Norwegian family weekly became known simply as Allers and grew into the country's leading magazine title.
Laura Aller died in 1917 at the age of 68. Carl Aller remained at the head of the company until his death in 1926 at the age of 80. Yet the company, which incorporated as the limited liability concern Carl Allers Etablissement A/S in 1930, remained firmly under the control of the Aller family as succeeding generations guided the company to further success.
Guided by Television in the 1950s
The emerging radio market inspired the company to launch a new weekly focusing on the country's radio programming. Det Ny Radioblad, as the title was called, also provided programming listings, making it a popular publication among the country's eager listening audience.
In the early 1950s, however, Aller recognized the potential of the newly developing television market. In 1953, the company revamped its radio magazine format, converting it to a weekly covering both the radio and television markets. The company once again included television listings, and the new magazine, Se og Hor, quickly became the leading broadcast-oriented publication in Norway.
Aller reorganized its operations at the beginning of the 1970s. In 1971, the company restructured Carl Allers Etablissement as a holding company for three primary subsidiaries: Aller Press A/S, in Denmark, and the Svensk Aller and Norsk Aller operations.
Aller's success continued in all three of its markets throughout the 1970s and into the 1980s. In 1978, for example, the company created Oslo-based Se og Hor Forlaget in order to launch its television weekly in the Norwegian market. The format proved a hit with Norwegian consumers and quickly established itself as the illustrated weekly including television listings with the largest circulation in the entire Scandinavian market.
Aller marked the 1980s with a series of acquisitions as it continued to expand its range of publications. In 1983, for example, the company acquired TIFA AB, based in Sweden, a publisher of two prominent women-oriented weeklies, Hemmets Veckotidning and Allas. Two years later, Aller set up a new publishing subsidiary in Denmark, In A/S, which launched a new monthly magazine, Madesmagasinet IN.
Aller took the leading position among weekly magazine publishers in the Danish market in 1987 when it acquired two magazines from Den Berlingske Gruppe. The titles, Sondags BT and the television listings magazine Billed Bladet, gave the company the largest circulation in the country.
Scandinavian Leader in the 2000s
By the beginning of the 2000s, Aller had successfully claimed the leading share of the entire Scandinavian weekly magazine market, with a total circulation topping 3.2 million. By then, Aller had expanded into the last of the four major Scandinavian markets when it created Allers Julkaisut OY in Finland in 1992. The company launched its first title there, 7 Päivää, a Finnish-language version of its Se og Hor, that year, quickly claiming the top spot in the Finnish television listings segment. Over the next decade, the company rolled out several more titles in Finland, including Koti ja keittio in 1996, MIX in 1998, and OHO! in 2002.
The company also boosted its presence in Sweden through the acquisition of Aret Runt, a popular women's title, in 1999. That purchase, from Bonniers Veckotidninger AB, enabled Aller to claim a market share of more than 80 percent in the Swedish weekly magazine market. With market shares of 70 percent in Denmark, 49 percent in Norway, and 26 percent in Finland, its fastest-growing market, Aller could lay claim to a 59 percent share of the total Scandinavian market.
Although Aller remained privately held and controlled by the founding Aller family, the company had made an effort to increase the liquidity of its shares by the turn of the 21st century. The company created a two-tier shareholding system, including class A shares with voting rights and class B shares with no voting rights. In 1981, the family created the Aller Foundation, which took over a major portion of the company's class A shares. In 1991, a new investment vehicle was established, called Rella Holding A/S, which acquired the Aller's class B shares. The investment group behind Rella (Aller spelled backwards) included a number of private investors. Among this group was Codan, an insurance company, that held 20 percent of the class B shares.
At the same time, Aller registered its shares at Denmark's Authorized Market Place. Nonetheless, very little of the group's shareholding came up for sale. This situation prompted a rumor in 2001 that Rella was seeking a buyer for its own shareholding. Rella, however, confirmed its commitment to its shareholding in Aller as a long-term investment. At the end of 2004, Rella's holding of Aller's class B shares stood at 78.5 percent. The shareholding structure of the company's class A shares split at 56 percent held by the Aller Foundation and 27 percent held directly by Suzanne Aller, who also served as the group's deputy chairman.
From the beginning in 1873, the Aller Group has grown to be the largest publisher of weeklies in the Nordic countries. In Denmark the market share is more than 70%, and Aller publishes the largest family weekly, the largest weekly for women, and the two largest celebrity/TV-Guide weeklies.
In Sweden the market share is above 78%, and the largest celebrity/TV-Guide weekly is published by Aller. In Norway the market share is more than 50%, and Aller publishes the largest weekly in the Nordic countries. In Finland the market share is more than 20% and still growing. Each week, the Aller Group is selling more than 3.1 million weeklies.
Aller continued building up its portfolio into the mid-2000s. In 1997, for example, the company created a new Swedish subsidiary, S&H Forlag, which then launched a Swedish-language version of Se og Hor. The company's expanding portfolio included an increasingly diverse array of titles. In Denmark, the company's list of titles featured Daadnyt, a boating enthusiasts title; Bazarmag, devoted to celebrity and fashion news and gossip; Foraeldre og Boern, covering parenting subjects; and the erotic titles Tidens Kvinder and Tidens Mand. In Norway, the company published fashion and style-oriented Henne, the hunting title Jeger Hund & Vapen, and the boating magazine Baatmagasinet. In 2000, the company added a new title, Rapoprt, when it took over Copenhagen-based A&L.
In the 1990s and early 2000s, Aller adopted a strong Internet presence, establishing sites based on many of its prominent titles. In 2001, the company also added a new area of operations, creating a business-to-business division under subsidiary Aller International A/S. As part of that extension, the company made three acquisitions: Visholm Media, T-Press, and Brorson ApS. As it turned toward mid-decade, Aller appeared interested in extending into a new media, with the suggestion that it might bid for a stake in the state-owned television broadcaster TV 2. Meanwhile, with a circulation topping 3.2 million and sales of DKK 3.59 billion ($632 million) at the end of 2004, Carl Aller Etablissement remained a major force in the Scandinavian media market.
Aller Press A/S; Aller Julkaisut Oy (Finland); Aller International A/S; Norsk Aller A/S (Norway); Svenska Aller AB (Sweden).
- Husband-and-wife team Carl and Laura Aller establish a publishing company in Copenhagen.
- The company publishes its first magazine title, the weekly Nordisk Monster Tidende (later Femina ), with Laura Aller as chief editor.
- Publication begins of a second successful title, Illustreret Familie Journal.
- The company expands into Sweden with its new subsidiary, Svenska Aller, and the launch of Aller's Familie Journal.
- Aller enters Norway with the launch of Aller's Familie Journal under its subsidiary Norsk Aller.
- The company registers as a limited liability concern, Carl Aller Establissement.
- A radio program guide, Det Ny Radioblad, is established.
- Radioblad is revamped as a television and radio guide, Se og Hor.
- Aller is restructured as a holding company.
- The company creates a Norwegian subsidiary, Se og Hor Forlaget, launching that title in Norway.
- Aller Foundation is created to acquire a majority of the company's class A shares.
- TIFA AB of Sweden is acquired.
- The company creates a new subsidiary, IN A/S, to publish a monthly magazine, Madesmagasinet IN.
- Billed Bladet and Sondags BT are acquired from Den Berlingske Grupper, making Carl Allers the leading weekly magazine publisher in Denmark.
- Rella Holding is created to acquire a majority of the company's class B shares.
- The company enters Finland with the launch of 7 Päivää under a new subsidiary, Aller Julkaisut OY.
- Se og Hor is launched in Sweden.
- The weekly magazine Aret Rundt is acquired from Bonniers Veckotidninger in Sweden.
- Aller establishes a business-to-business publishing unit with the acquisitions of Visholm Media, T-Press, and Brorson.
- The company's circulation tops 3.2 million with sales of DKK 3.59 billion ($632 million).
"Aller May Bid for TV2," Boersen, June 12, 2002.
"Aller's Printing Press Investment Proves Costly," Boersen, August 7, 2002.
"Egmont More Profitable Than Aller," Boersen, August 28, 2002.
"Norsk Aller Might Acquire Nettavisen," Dagens Naeringsliv, September 19, 2002.
"TV2 and Aller to Co-operate," Boersen, April 23, 2002.
Williams, Granville, "European Media Ownership: Threats on the Landscape," European Federation of Journalists, January 2003.
—M. L. Cohen