The story of Egmont begins in a small humble apartment in Copenhagen in 1878. With the support of her mother, Petrine, the young typographer, Egmont Harald Petersen, gets the opportunity to purchase a hand press, a so-called "Flyswatter" - a hand-driven and simple printing machine.
His mother, who was a single parent, had pawned all her possessions in order to buy the printing machine. In doing so, Egmont could now start his own printing business in his mother's kitchen – the printing house, which today has developed into the media group Egmont.
Soon the little one-man business, P. Petersens Bogtrykkeri (after his mother Petrine Petersen) begins to develop. From printing business cards, invoices, letterheads and the like, Egmont begins to graduate to printing books and magazines. The purchase of ”Damernes Magasin” in 1902 (from 1904 ”Hjemmet”) really gets the magazine business moving, and they quickly acquire a presence in both Norway and Sweden.
The Egmont Foundation is established
Egmont Harald Petersen wrote in his will that a part of the company's profits should "be used for philanthropic purposes". The will was drawn up on 5 May 1914 – Egmont died later that year, 53 years old.
Six years later, in 1920 – Egmont Harald Petersen's wish became a reality when his wife Elisabeth and their five children incumbent the Egmont Foundation. The aim was to alleviate the consequences for children and families living in poverty.
The child's role in the family and in society has changed since 1920. But through nearly 100 years we have preserved the core of the original idea, namely to help the most vulnerable people in society. Today, after more than EUR 1.6 billion donated, poverty, social vulnerability and deprivation remains the key points of the Egmont Foundation.
Increased activity and the continued growth of the printing house demands space. In 1911 Egmont Harald Petersen decides to build a large printing house and magazine company at Kongens Have in the middle of Copenhagen.
Egmont Harald Petersen died on 5 August 1914 and never saw the new building, which was completed in September the same year. The building is named Gutenberghus after the inventor of the printing press, Johann Gutenberg. Gutenberghus also became the new name of the organization.
When he died in 1914 Egmont Harald Petersen left a solid business in constant growth behind him. Yet despite the size of Gutenberghus, it could not keep up with the pace of expansion in the printing and magazine businesses.
Again, the organization needs more space, and in 1928 the second Gutenberghus is unveiled in Vognmagergade, in the middle of Copenhagen. Today, this is still Egmonts head office.
After World War 2 Gutenberghus begins to spread their activities to the rest of the world. They start in the German-speaking countries and in the 1980’s establish themselves in Great Britain.
After the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 Gutenberghus were quick to realize the opportunities presented by the new East European markets. The organization establishes itself in Hungary, at that time Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union and afterwards in the other East European countries such as Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia and the Ukraine.
Founding of Norway’s leading commercial TV channel
However, it is not just the opportunities of the new markets that attract Gutenberghus in the 80’s and 90’s.
In 1984 Gutenberghus and Nordisk Film, in co-operation with Aller and Danish dailies, formed WeekendTV, the forerunner to what later became TV2. Building on the experience gained from WeekendTV they could establish TV2 Gruppen Norge, the leading commercial TV channel in Norway, in 1992, together with a group of partners. As of 2012, Egmont owns 100% of the station.
In 1992 the organization changes its name from Gutenberghus to today’s Egmont.
Movies, games and movie theatres
In 1992 Egmont and Nordisk Film join forces and Egmont expand their activities to include movie-production, -distribution and -screening.
Nordisk Film is the Nordic Region’s leading supplier of entertainment. Film and tv drama production in Denmark and Norway, sale and distribution of PlayStation games and consoles all contribute to Nordisk Film’s broad involvement in the media industry.
In the late 1980s Egmont begins to explore the new digital opportunities and today Egmont ownes a wide range of communities and e-commerce in a number of countries.
Professional pride and grand visions
Egmont’s advance from a kitchen table printing press to a modern, international media organization with activities in 30 countries is the result of focused expansion based on classic values like quality, vigilance, and precision.
The professional pride and the broad outlook which typified the founder, Egmont Harald Petersen, has been the trademark of Egmont and the key values in the organization’s more than 130 year history.
Egmont always strives to deliver the best products and to spread their activities over a broad geographic area and over several media platforms.
Today Egmont comprises companies which are involved in over 150 different aspects of media.