Budapest, January 23 (MTI) – Vienna Capital Partners (VCP) will buy broadsheet Népszabadság, business daily Világgazdaság, sports daily Nemzeti Sport and eight regional dailies from publishers Ringier and Axel Springer, the companies said on Thursday.
VCP senior partner Heinrich Pecina said the investing and consulting company would invest “a considerable amount” in the acquisition, without revealing any concrete figure.
“We will use all our effort to further enhance politically and economically independent journalism in Hungary and to create a successful, dynamic Hungarian media group for the long term,” he said.
VCP said it aimed to build on left-liberal Népszabadság’s formidable tradition, in print and digital form, with the cooperation of its minority owner, the Free Press Association.
Ringier and Axel Springer are selling the publications to comply with competition requirements for the planned transfer of their holdings in Hungary into a joint venture called Ringier Axel Springer Hungary.
The portfolio of the joint venture will comprise mainly tabloid and women’s magazines: “publications with a strong market position and very good prospects for digitization”. Among the publications is tabloid market Blikk.
The transaction is subject to the approval of the Hungarian Competition Office (GVH) and the National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH).
German media giant Axel Springer and Swiss peer Ringier withdrew a request for approval from the GVH to consolidate their holdings in Hungary in the spring of 2011. The withdrawal was made because of a negative statement by the Media Council which is binding for the antitrust authority.
“The combination of activities in Hungary is still planned by both companies. They will decide in due course and after having thoroughly inquired into all options of action, if, and in what way a new request for a modified merger will be filed,” Axel Springer said at the time.
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