Jun 28, 2023
Owner of Alrow Media prepares transition to next-generation and foundation ownership
Photo: Rasmus Nielsen and his two sons Oskar (born in 1993) and William (born in 1996) at a family event on 12th of May 2023. (Photographer: Rasmus Flindt Pedersen)
The group Alrow Media, which publish the political online newspaper Altinget in the Scandinavian countries and Danish weekly magazine and think tank Mandag Morgen, is now taking the first steps towards securing the future of the companies.
This happens when I, as the 62-year-old founder and owner of the companies, prepare the transfer of ownership to the next generation and partial foundation ownership. The purpose is to secure the ownership of our four media companies. The foundation will have a democratic purpose.
Over the years, offers from both Danish and international companies have politely been turned down. With the steps now taken in securing future ownership, I will protect the independent, political neutral and serious journalism and values, which are the foundation of our media outlets.
In addition, we currently secure around 200 jobs in Brussels, Copenhagen, Oslo, and Stockholm. We are knowledge-based companies, where our well-educated and specialized employees mean everything.
Three companies will be established, which together will own Alrow Media.
ROW ApS gets 90% ownership. The company's name is the initials of Rasmus and my two sons Oskar, and William. ROW - or row - also describes the concept behind Altinget, a series of niche media. The 2 family branches are to initially take over 10% ownership each during 2024.
30-year-old Oskar Herrik Nielsen is an entrepreneur and former head of advertising at Alrow Media. 26-year-old William Herrik Nielsen is a doctor and PhD student in cardiology at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen.
The two sons, who were both born, raised and now live in Copenhagen, have a mutually close and respectful relationship. For a long time, they have actively followed the company's development. Oskar with a special interest in business development and William within IT. They have not chosen a journalistic career, so the journalistic line will also in the future be authorized by the responsible editors-in-chief based on the principle of neutrality and fairness.
Furthermore, ALF ApS and ALF Holding ApS will be founded and own the remaining 10% from the start. ALF is an abbreviation for the Alrow Fonden (Alrow Foundation), which is planned to be established during the years 2026-30 with a non-profit, democratic purpose. When the Alrow foundation is established, it replaces ALF Holding ApS as owner of ALF ApS.
The capital base of the foundation is expected to come partly from me as the founder, partly from the proportional share of future dividends and return on the capital when distributions are deducted. The foundation will eventfully be located in a domicile in central Copenhagen. In addition to the democratic purpose, the foundation will be able to calibrate or, if necessary, mediate between possible, future generations in the event of divergence in the view of the strategy.
In my opinion, the best way to secure the future is through self-ownership. Family ownership is the backbone of Scandinavian business life and foundations are - not least in Denmark - a widespread, permanent form of co-ownership. I, my sons, the board of Alrow Media and our advisors are convinced that a combination of family and foundation ownership will be the most viable and long-term ownership structure – hopefully into the next century.
In the long term, the 2 family branches and the Alrow foundation will own more of the media company, although I will probably still own a share of it for the rest of my life. The final ownership model will be stated in my will, just as the purpose of the Alrow foundation as well as a detailed founder's will.
The structure is determined, and the end goal is irreversible. But there is no rush. I am healthy and happy and plan to be chairman of the board in Alrow Media and later the board of the foundation in the years to come. Planning what is ultimately an exit requires thought. Such a process must be given time. Thereby, you can also help shape and train the next generation's abilities for the benefit of the companies, just as I can hopefully contribute to the values and tradition of the Alrow foundation when it is established.
Media outlets covering our society like Altinget are in some way not owned by anyone. They are perceived as common property – as part of our society. Like something that is just there. This is how it should be.
Well, there are formal owners as described here. Subscribers, advertisers, sources, and employees can rest assured about the future ownership as the plan mentioned here is implemented. Because it is the day-to-day media content that matters. You can count on what we publish. We are always there. Ultimately in support of our democratic form of government. That was the purpose on the first day Altinget.dk was published in April 2000 - and it will be the purpose in all future as well.
Alrow Media owns a 100 percent of: • Altinget ApS, Denmark, founded 2000 • Altinget AB, Sweden, founded 2014 • Altinget AS, Norway, founded 2022 • Mandag Morgen ApS, Denmark, acquired 2016 • Ejendomsselskabet Stedets Ånd ApS, Denmark, founded 2006