A German translation of this post is available here.
28 March, 2023: Pluralis and Media Development Investment Fund with leading German ethical bank GLS Bank and GLS Crowd launched Pluralis Media Anleihe, the first impact bond for media plurality in Europe.
Pluralis Media Anleihe enables people in Germany, from high street retail investors to foundations and companies, to invest in news companies that provide independent, quality reporting in countries in Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe where media pluralism is at risk. Providing a 5% coupon, it does so through Pluralis, an entity managed by MDIF, which takes ownership positions in media companies at risk of capture by governments and their business allies, and in other media providing pluralistic voices in already captured markets.
Pluralis has currently invested approximately EUR30 million in two companies, Petit Press in Slovakia and Gremi in Poland, with additional investments in the pipeline.
Pluralis’ other shareholders, investors and partners are a group of prestigious European media companies, democracy-supporting foundations and impact investors that share the belief that people’s access to a plurality of news sources is fundamental for sustaining European democracy. In line with its ethos, Pluralis eschews any involvement with a company’s editorial decision-making.
About GLS Bank
GLS Bank is the largest and first social-ecological bank in Germany. As a credit union it lives by the motto: mind before profit. It only finances social-ecological projects and companies which focus on basic human needs such as renewable energies, nutrition, sustainable economy, housing, mobility, education and culture as well as social and health issues. Its goal is to create a future worth living together. Beside its strong values it offers all the services of a modern bank: retail bank accounts, credit cards, sustainable funds, real estate loans and much more. GLS Bank is based in Bochum and has branches in Berlin, Hamburg, Freiburg, Munich, Frankfurt and Stuttgart.
About GLS Crowd
The GLS Crowd is the online platform for crowd investing. It connects entrepreneurs and their future-oriented ideas with people who want to use their money to realize social-ecological projects. The projects and growth companies are selected according to the criteria of the investment and financing principles of the GLS Bank. But GLS Crowd platform is operated by GLS Crowdfunding GmbH which is a tied agent according to Concedus GmbH, Eckental. Both companies are independent of GLS Bank and not part of the group.
Pluralis B.V. is a Dutch limited liability company duly organised under the laws of the Netherlands with its seat in Amsterdam that serves as an investment vehicle for news companies that provide independent, quality reporting in countries in Europe where media pluralism is at risk. Pluralis brings together a coalition of prestigious European media companies, foundations and impact investors, including King Baudouin Foundation, Mediahuis, Oak Foundation, Soros Economic Development Fund and Tinius Trust, to purchase equity in companies at risk of capture by governments and their business allies, and in other media providing pluralistic voices in already captured markets. So far, it had invested €29 million in 2 companies in 2 countries.
Media Development Investment Fund is a not-for-profit investment fund based in New York, United States. It provides debt and equity financing supported by technical assistance in countries where access to free and independent media is under threat. With more than $141 million assets under management, since 1996 MDIF has invested $296 million in 146 independent media businesses in 47 countries. Its investments help independent media around the world provide the news, information and debate that people need to build free, thriving societies.