Sanoma News, part of Sanoma Group, is to sell 100% of picture agency Lehtikuva Oy's shares to the Finnish News Agency (STT). STT's acquisition also includes Lehtikuva's ICT systems, which are owned by Sanoma Data.

"STT and Lehtikuva will combine to form a modern news and photo agency which supplies both text and photos under one roof. This will offer material benefits to the customers," says STT's CEO Mika Pettersson.

"As a result of this development, both companies will be able to further enhance their operations and the services offered to customers," says Juha Nousiainen, Managing Director of Lehtikuva Oy.

"Sanoma aims to maintain a balanced business portfolio by focusing on selected business areas. STT and Lehtikuva will form a unit that will be more efficient than Lehtikuva would be in our portfolio," says Mikael Pentikäinen, President of Sanoma News.

STT will pay the purchase price partly in cash and partly by means of a share issue directed at Sanoma News. Following the transaction, Sanoma News' total holding in STT will increase from 23.1 to 34.3 per cent. Magazines and newspapers published by Sanoma News will continue as significant customers of STT and Lehtikuva.

Following the transaction, STT's second- and third-largest owners will be Alma Media with a holding of 24.1 per cent and TS-Group with a holding of 18.0 per cent. The transaction is subject to an approval of the General Meeting of STT.

STT's net sales totalled EUR 14.2 million in 2008. The company has approximately 130 employees. The net sales of Lehtikuva totalled EUR 6.8 million in 2008. The company has 37 employees.

The transaction is not expected to have any effects on employment relationships at STT or Lehtikuva. STT and Lehtikuva will later move to shared premises.

Sanoma News is the leading newspaper publisher in Finland, and its products have a strong presence both in print and digital format in the lives of their readers. Sanoma News is part of the Sanoma Group.