Sweden's MTG floats metro newspaper division

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STOCKHOLM--Swedish media company Modern Times Group has listed its Metro International newspaper division, which distributes free tabloids to commuters in cities around the world, on the Nasdaq stock exchange in New York and the SBI exchange in Stockholm. The offering values the company at $1.1 billion.

The stock listing coincides with news that Metro plans to launch a newspaper, as yet untitled, in Rio de Janeiro. Earlier this year, the company launched the freesheet Metro in Brazil.

Metro was started in Stockholm in 1995. Internationalization began in 1997 with an edition in Prague and a year later Budapest was added. In Sweden, Stockholm has been joined by Gothenburg and Malmo/Skane, the latter covering the southernmost region of Sweden. Helsinki has its own edition and there is an edition covering eight cities in the Netherlands.

The biggest expansion has taken place this year, with newspapers launching in Santiago, Philadelphia, Newcastle, Rome, Zurich and Toronto.

According to the most recent Gallup survey, Metro has Metro International,about 3.9 million readers each day worldwide. On a weekly basis, Metro is read by 7.8 million people, according to the same survey.

Copyright August 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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