Property investment company purchases an online community

Sten Mörtstedt, CEO of CLS Holdings plc (a property investment company), places a bid to buy the rest of Lunarstorm for 170 million SEK (roughly 18,2 million EUR). His interested in the company started in 2001 when he invested 15 million SEK for 30% of the company.

The aim is to go internationally
After years of talk Lunarstorm started last autumn to expand by launching the service in UK. Read more here.  According to an article in Dagens Industri on Saturday "they will invest a few hundred million SEK the coming years to launch the service in Europe, US and China".

I believe the timing of the purchase has to do with the growing focus on similar services in the US. The biggest is MySpace. Bought by News Corp, the company run by media mogul Rupert Murdoch, nine months ago for $580m. The story told in CNN. Another one is FaceBook which is apparently on the market according to BusinessWeek. I bet the value of those companies is attracting the interest to grow something similar on this side of the pond.

Lunarstorm is Sweden's leading youth oriented community service with over 900 000 members logging in to their service every week. Roughly 80% of the youths between 12-17 years are using their service! The revenue was 71 million SEK last year with a profit of 14,9 million SEK.

Further reading see the article in the Herald Tribune (200511-28).
IDG wrote earlier this year a story about how they managed to start charging for their service. (Only in Swedish)

About communities
Last December BusinessWeek wrote an article on the culture of youth communities. More on the topic is found in the blog of Danah Boyd who recently had a speech about "Identity Production in a Networked Culture: Why Youth Heart MySpace" .

More about Sten Mörtstedt and CLS
"Sten Mortstedt, 65, began his career 1962 with Svenska Handelsbanken (Stockholm). 1968 was appointed Managing Director of the Mortstedt family property company Citadellet AB, which he successfully floated on the Stock Exchange in Stockholm 1981. Since 1977 he has been involved in establishing and running property and other family interests in Europe and USA and is the Executive Chairman of CLS Holdings plc (established in 1987 - listed on the London Stock Exchange 1994).

CLS Holdings plc is a property investment company, listed on the London Stock Exchange since 1994. It has an equity of £426m and a property portfolio in London, France, Sweden and Germany valued at over £1bn. CLS has invested primarily in offices. It has established local management operating from offices in London, Paris and Stockholm. The company was founded by its current Chairman, Sten Mortstedt whose family holds a controlling stake in the company."  The description is  from GRI