SDA and Keystone merge to form a multimedia media company



Press release

Focus on innovative, integrated information offerings from one source

Bern/Zurich, 30 October 2017 – Two well-established companies in the Swiss media sector enter into a merger: SDA founded in 1894, Switzerland’s leading provider of news reports, and the picture agency Keystone founded in 1953, will merge from 1 January 2018 to form the multimedia company KEYSTONE–SDA. The Austria Press Agency (APA) will act as a strategic technology partner with representation on the Board of Directors as a major shareholder.

“Our motivation in merging SDA and Keystone is to provide our customers with highquality, multimedia information products in text, pictorial, infographic and video format. This reflects, on the one hand, our customers’ changing needs while at the same time providing us with a platform on which to further the company's strategic development,” is how Dr. Hans Heinrich Coninx, President of the Board of Directors of SDA, explains the rationale for the merger.

This merger marks an even closer rapprochement between two strong partners. KEYSTONE–SDA will leverage the strengths and competencies of SDA and its subsdiary Keystone to an even greater degree: its presence throughout the country, trilingual capability, regional roots, the quality of its journalism and longstanding customer relationships.

Added value for customers

The merger offers a range of advantages to customers: “We can greatly reduce the complexity of the technologically integrated production of multimedia content. That will make us quicker, thus directly benefiting our customers,” say SDA CEO Markus Schwab and Keystone CEO Jann Jenatsch. “In the future, they will be able enter their requirements in terms of the content and format of their coverage directly into our shared Agenda tool, thus enabling us to speed up the creation of client-specific products. An added benefit stems from pooling our competencies. In effect, we're getting the best of both worlds,” explain Schwab and Jenatsch in support of the merger’s business rationale.

Expansion of Business areas

In addition to its main business: producing news reports and images for media companies, KEYSTONE–SDA will focus on building up its business with clients from outside the media, i.e. companies, authorities and organisations. A third business area is the development of digital services to process, refine and market content, such as client-specific apps.

Technological partnership with Austria Press Agency

The Austria Press Agency (APA) will incorporate its technological competence for the development and provision of multimedia and especially digital offerings as part of its long-term IT cooperation. For ten years, SDA and APA have been closely related through their shared financial interest in Keystone. SDA and APA have already been closely connected to Keystone for ten years since acquiring joint ownership of the company. “Our longstanding relationship based on trust is the best platform on which to enter into a strategic partnership. For all three agencies, this transaction is a win-win situation. I am convinced that this shared participation will result in a forward-looking and sustainable strengthening of independent, multimedia- and technology-orientated news agencies in both countries,“ says Dr Clemens Pig, CEO of APA. The APA subsidiary APA IT, Austria’s leading IT information provider, will deliver the services for media solutions, IT outsourcing and content management.

The merger of SDA and Keystone will take the form of a shareholding exchange: APA will contribute its 50% share in Keystone to the new company in return for 30% of the shares in KEYSTONE–SDA. “We are delighted about the joint realisation of this crossborder participation and technological project and we wish the new Swiss news agency group a prosperous future with the APA,“ enthuse Hermann Petz, Chairman of the Management Board and Alexander Wrabetz, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Austria Press Agency.


Executive board and board of directors

Photo by Christian Beutler/ KEYSTONE

The new Executive Board will consist of Markus Schwab, CEO (current CEO of SDA), 2nd from left, Jann Jenatsch, Chief Operations Officer (current CEO of Keystone), 2nd from right, Rainer Kupper, Chief Marketing Officer (current CMO of Keystone), left, and Daniel Mathys, CFO (current CFO of Keystone), right. The Board of Directors will consist of the former SDA Directors Dr. Hans Heinrich Coninx (President), Hanspeter Lebrument (Vice President) Walter Bachmann, Ulrich Eckstein, Matthias Hagemann, Sandra Jean, Hanspeter Kellermüller, Serge Raymond and Giacomo Salvioni, plus Dr Clemens Pig (CEO of APA) and Karin Thiller (Managing Director at APA).

Longstanding Editor-in-chief and Director of Sales, Bernard Maissen welcomes the merger but will be leaving the organisation. He has successfully implemented the Board’s strategy of further developing SDA into a multimedia news agency. He will be leaving SDA after 25 years, half of which have been spent leading the editorial team and directing the business. The Board wishes to thank Bernard Maissen for his enormous contribution and wish him all the best for the future.

The merger is subject to the approval of the Swiss and Austrian Competition Commissions and the approval of the shareholders at the General Meetings of SDA AG and Keystone AG. The merger is scheduled for completion in Q2 2018 with retroactive effect from 1 January 2018.


About SDA

Schweizerische Depeschenagentur AG (SDA) is Switzerland’s national news agency in the ownership of the Swiss media. It provides a comprehensive, independent news service round-the-clock on such issues as politics, economics, culture, social and miscellaneous topics in the three national languages of German, French and Italian. It thus ensures a steady supply of news for the Swiss media from within and outside Switzerland. The company was founded in 1894 on the guiding principles of independence, solidarity and innovativeness. Moreover, it has stakes in the other agency areas, such as pictures or financial news. SDA Group based in Bern has 15 locations in German-speaking Switzerland, Romandy and Ticino.


Keystone was founded in 1953 as a Swiss subsidiary of the American KEYSTONE View Company founded in 1891. Keystone is an independent limited company owned by SDA and the Austria Press Agency APA (50% each). Keystone is Switzerland’s leading picture agency with over 75 employees, including 16 full-time photographers and a dozen video journalists. Through its global network with partner agencies and many freelance photographers, Keystone has over 15 million images in its database plus a historical archive with over 10 million pictures, which form a major part of Switzerland’s visual memory. Besides the media, Keystone also counts companies, advertising agencies, organisations and associations among its customers.

About APA - Austria Presse Agentur EG

APA – Austria Press Agency is Austria’s national news agency and leading information service provider. It is owned by twelve Austrian newspapers and the ORF (Austrian Television). The APA Group is made up of the news agency, which is cooperatively organised, and three one hundred percent subsidiaries. It operates in the business areas of news agency, picture agency, information management and information technology. The APA editorial offices provide real time news services in writing, pictures, graphics, audio and video, the subsidiaries provide dissemination, research and knowledge management services as well as information technology solutions.



Keystone AG Rainer Kupper, CMO Grubenstrasse 45 8045 Zürich Telefon: +41 44 200 13 00 Email: Web:

Schweizerische Depeschenagentur AG Winfried Kösters, Redaktionsleiter Deutsch Länggassstrasse 7 3001 Bern Tel. +41 31 309 33 33 Fax +41 31 309 30 30 Email: Web:


Press Release (PDF)
High-Res image of the board of directors (JPG)





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