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Belfast Telegraph owner Mediahuis expands with Dutch company Lepaya investment

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Mediahuis CEO Gert Ysebaert (left) and Chairman Thomas Leysen.

Mediahuis CEO Gert Ysebaert (left) and Chairman Thomas Leysen.

Mediahuis CEO Gert Ysebaert (left) and Chairman Thomas Leysen.

Belfast Telegraph owner Mediahuis has invested €5m (£4.5m) in Lepaya, a Dutch company specialising in the provision of soft skills training.

Set up two years ago, Lepaya provides courses in areas, including communication, time management, and team management. It provides both online and classroom training sessions.

The funding will enable the Dutch scale-up to accelerate its growth, both in the Netherlands and internationally.

In addition, it will be used to further develop Lepaya’s range of courses and technology.

For Belgian-headquartered Mediahuis, which took over Belfast Telegraph and Sunday Life owner INM last year, the investment signifies a new step in the media group’s diversification strategy. Alongside its core news activities, this strategy includes focusing on new growth markets and business models, therefore broadening the development potential of the group, a statement from the company said.

Gert Ysebaert, CEO of Mediahuis Group, said: “The training market not only offers attractive prospects and opportunities for growth, it also fits in with Mediahuis’ mission, particularly providing information independently, thereby making a positive contribution to society.

“Specifically in terms of soft skills, today we can only see their importance increasing. Particularly in times when physical contact between staff is decreasing sharply, these social skills and developing them are becoming ever more important,” Mr Ysebaert added.

Established in 2013 as a joint venture between Belgian publishing groups Corelio and Concentra, Mediahuis is now one of the leading media groups in Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Ireland.

The company acquired Independent News and Media (INM) for €145.6m (£131m) last year. Its titles in the Republic include Independent.ie, the Irish Independent, Sunday Independent, Sunday World and regional papers including the Kerryman.

Mediahuis Group last year had combined revenue of €857.9m (£770m), up 39% on 2018. The results included five months of Irish sales.

Recurring earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (r-ebitda) were €118.9m (£107m).

Belfast Telegraph