Grupo Folha/UOL is a conglomerate of companies formed by three newspapers (Folha de S. Paulo, Agora São Paulo and Alô Negócios), by the Universo Online (UOL) online portal, TV Folha (streamed by the UOL portal), the Folhapress news agency, the Datafolha research institute, a publisher, an online bookshop, printing plants, logistic and distribution companies, e-commerce and education digital platforms and information technology companies dedicated to digital entertainment.
Folha da Manhã S.A. changed from being a newspaper to being a communication group in 1996, when it sealed a partnership with the North-American publisher Quad Graphics. From that partnership the Plural company was born right next to the Folha printing plant, but with an independent administration. “Our business is content, but we are a media group, not only print media”, declared Luís Frias, president of Grupo Folha.
In the previous year, the group also embarked on the electronic information business, with the creation of Universo OnLine (UOL) and of a portal fed with content from the Folha de S. Paulo, Folha da Tarde and Notícias Populares newspapers, texts translated to portuguese from the New York Times and the Boston Globe and material form the IstoÉ magazine. The Folhapar holding was created for the group’s financial and administrative restructuring, new partners were called and new enterprises were stimulated. After the strategies implemented by the heirs of the Frias family, the group’s profits doubled in only five years, between 1995 and 2000.
Folha da Manhã S.A., the company that controls the newspaper Folha de S. Paulo, dates back to the year 1921, when a group of journalists, some of which had previously worked in the O Estado de S. Paulo newspaper, got together to found the newspaper Folha da Tarde. Olívio Olavo de Olival Costa, who was an editor of O Estado de S. Paulo was among them. Júlio Mesquita, whose father owned Estadão (a nickname for the O Estado de S. Paulo) too, as well as Pedro Cunha, Leo Vaz, Mariano Costa and Artêmio Figueiredo.
Brazil was going through a period of intense political and social agitation in the 1920s, in the last years of the Old Republic. The press suffered a strict censorship and Folha da Noite had its circulation forbidden between the December 3rd and 31st in 1924. To reduce economic losses, their directors created a second newspaper, Folha da Tarde, with the exact same staff as the previous one. Folha da Noite’s circulation was authorized again on January 1st, 1925 but the director’s board decided to maintain both newspapers. Thus, on the 20th of that month, the second newspaper became Folha da Manhã, which ended up naming the group. The name Folha da Tarde was later reused in 1949 to designate a third newspaper published by the company.
Folha da Manhã S.A. was formally constituted in 1931 with a director’s board formed by Otaviano Alves de Lima (owner), Rubens do Amaral, Diógenes de Lemos Azevedo, Guilherme de Almeida, Pedro Cunha and Olival Costa. Otaviano de Lima came from a traditional family and reinforced the adoption of a new editorial line for the company, aimed at the “lavradores of São Paulo” as he called the rural landowners, mainly coffee producers. Before that Folha da Manhã had a language and content aimed at small business owners and self-employed professionals of a growing São Paulo, while Folha da Noite, with a more popular and humorous language, was aimed at the working class – they even published articles in different languages for the immigrants that looked for work in the city.
The approximation between the newspapers and the oligarchies was in fact an ongoing process. The markedly São Paulo character of the Folha newspapers had motivated their opposition to the 1930 Revolution, which removed São Paulo and Minas Gerais oligarchies from the national political power. That character would be reinforced after 1964, when José Nabantino Ramos was put in charge of the three Folha newspapers. Nabantino had connections with the general Eurico Gaspar Dutra, recently sworn in as chief of the federal government. One of the business financiers and new director-president of Folha da Manhã S.A., Alcides Ribeiro Meireles, had agrarian interests.
The Frias family took over Folha da Manhã S.A. only in August 1962, when the three Folhas were already circulating in a single newspaper called Folha de S. Paulo. The enterpreneurs Octávio Frias de Oliveira and Carlos Caldeira Filho, partners in the business, assumed an aggressive business attitude in order to widen their readership. One of the strategies employed was the acquisition of a fleet for the distribution of the newspapers, which allowed the publication to reach the interior before their rivals. They also improved the printing process.
Thus, one year after the company’s acquisition, Folha de S. Paulo became the newspaper with largest circulation in the country according to information provided by the owners in the edition of August 4th, 1963. But there weren’t only administrative changes. In a partnership with Correio da Manhã, from Rio de Janeiro, Folha de S. Paulo sponsored the I Congresso Brasileiro para Definição das Reformas de Base (1st Brazilian Congress for the Definition of Base Reforms) in 1963, putting together their own reform proposals for the João Goulart government which were later sent to the Legislative.
Folha de S. Paulo supported the ensemble of events that led to the 1964 military coup in Brazil, but after it happened they tried to sustain an independent position in relation to the regime.
In the late 1990s, Folha de S. Paulo was still the largest newspaper in average circulation in the country, reaching the mark of two million copies sold on Sundays. This leadership continued in the following decade. But although they began the century with an average circulation of 429,276 copies a day, the numbers eventually went down to an average of 298,352 copies during the first three months of 2009 – following the crisis that hit the Brazilian press then. In 2016 the average daily circulation was of 309,700 copies.
Folha da Manhã S.A.
Other Print Outlets
Newspapers: Folha de S. Paulo (9,24%), Agora São Paulo (2,42%), Alô Negócios, Folha de S. Paulo edição regional Ribeirão Preto, Folha de S. Paulo edição regional Campinas e Vale do Paraíba.
Other Online Outlets
Universo Online (www.uol.com.br)
Folha de S. Paulo (http://www.folha.uol.com.br/)
Livraria da Folha (virtual)
SPDL (partnetship with O Estado de S. Paulo)
Sede São Paulo - SP - Alameda Br. de Limeira, 425 Campos Elíseos - São Paulo - São Paulo - CEP: 01202-900 - (11) 3224.3129 - www.folha.uol.com.br
Tax/ ID Number
CNPJ 60.579.703/0001-48, 01.109.184/0001-95
Revenue (Financial Data/ Optional)
2015: R$ 526
Operating Profit (in Mill. $)
2015: R$ 2,6
Advertising (in % of total funding)
Marcelo Benez (commercial), Murilo Bussab (circulation), Marcelo Machado Gonçalves (finances) e Eduardo Alcaro (planning).
Administrative: Luiz Frias (President), Otavio Frias Filho (editorial), Antonio Manuel Teixeira Mendes (superintendent), Judith Brito (superintendent).