News Publisher Schibsted Aims To Profit By Offering Loans To Readers

One school of thought, in the challenged news business, holds that publishers should augment their conventional income from ads and circulation sales with new revenue streams. But offering loans has to be one of the most original we’ve seen.

Norways’s Schibsted now owns 97 percent of Swedish money lender, after buying a further 46 percent stake for SEK 92 million ($13.3 million / £8.3 million) this week (announcement).

Lendo visitors fill in a web application form to borrow up to SEK 350,000 ($50,537 / £31,770) at interest from 3.93 percent. It’s about as far from the core of a newspaper business as you could imagine.

But then, any fast-moving, revenue-making bolt-ons can begin to yield new returns to underpin the core. Lendo revenue for this year’s first nine months is 250 percent up from last year at SEK 40 million ($5.7 million / £3.6 million).

Schibsted, which publishes Aftenposten at home and 20 Minutes in France, is itself well-run, and is placing Lendo in its Tillväxtmedier division, a unit dedicated to housing growth-media operations including travel, price comparison, dating and home utilities search. Schibsted says it’s exporting Tillväxtmedier’s strategy of investing in non-core, high-growth areas to its Norwegian operations, where it created a Schibsted Vekst division last month.

Schibsted has been rolling out its domestic Blocket classified ad network to 14 European countries, culminating in buying in September in a deal Schibsted says valued the ad site at €400 million.

Its Aftonbladet news site has over 115,000 customers paying €3 ($4.01/£2.57) per month for extra content through a premium Aftonbladet Plus website.’s top three management retain the remaining three percent stake.