Budapest (MTI) – Opimus Press has acquired 100 percent of Mediaworks Hungary, the publisher of daily Népszabadság, which suspended the paper earlier this month citing financial reasons, the website of the Budapest Stock Exchange showed on Tuesday.
Opimus Group informed its shareholders during the day that its wholly-owned subsidiary had bought Mediaworks Hungary with the approval of the Competition Office.
Mediaworks’ former owner Vienna Capital Partners told MTI in a statement that the company had been sold. The owner has decided to immediately sell Mediaworks because of a high level of interest in the company and because “the temporary suspension of Népszabadság resulted in misleading and malicious rumours (while a complete shutdown of the paper was never a realistic option)”.
Optimus Press has been chosen because “it expressed an intent to seriously examine the possibility” of relaunching Népszabadság, the statement added.
“We truly hope that the new owner will be able to successfully develop Mediaworks Hungary further and resolve the temporary difficulties,” it added.
Mediaworks suspended the printed and online publication of Népszabadság on October 8. It said the reason was that over ten years, sales dropped by 74 percent, or by more than 100,000 copies, and as a result, the paper generated losses of more than 5 billion forints (EUR 16.2m) since 2007.
The Optimus Press is very close to Lőrinc Mészáros, who is already one of the richest men in Hungary, and he always wins state and billionaire tenders from 2010.