Early Skype backer invests in Danish free-subscription newspaper

Danish investor Morten Lund has bought a 51 per cent stake in the Danish free newspaper Nyhedsavisen, reports German daily Die Tageszeitung.

Lund is best-knows as an early investor in the internet telephony firm Skype, which was sold to eBay for €2.1 billion (£1.6b) in 2005.

According to the report, the former majority owners, Iceland’s Baugur group (best-known in the UK for investments in high-street retailers), may want to export Nyhedsavisen’s free-subscription model to mainland Europe. The same approach has has also been successful with Reykjavik’s Fréttabladid, which is read by 70 per cent of the the island’s population every day.

Its Danish sister title, launched in late 2006, has not had the same success. It is said to be lossmaking — estimates say to the tune of €80 million (£60m) in 15 months.

But on his blog, Lund writes: “We are in business to make PROFIT – just to let you know… We are bringing out a REAL PAPER – (not just a writeoff from the Reuters newsfeed) – done by real top dog journalists – and again backed up by a hardcore sales team.”

Skype co-founder Janus Friis, meanwhile, denied speculation in the Danish media that he would be named as Lund’s partner in Nyhedsavisen because the paper’s web site, Avisen.dk, might be used to test other new media projects he is working on. A spokesperson for Friis has told Journalisten.dk that Friis would be concentrating on the online television platform Joost.

Update: Kristine Lowe has some more details.

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