UK investor bids for Dutch publisher

The London-based media investment group Mecom, which owns regional newspapers all over Europe, has made an offer for the outstanding shares in the Dutch bourse-listed publisher Wegener.

The move comes just months after UK private equity group Apax pulled out of the Dutch newspaper market.
Mecom already owns 23.7% of Wegener which it bought from the Telegraaf group in April. Wegener operates a string of local papers and jointly owns the AD media group with PCM which publishes the Volkskrant and NRC. PCM was in the hands of Apax until earlier this year.
It has offered €17.70 per Wegener share, valuing the Dutch company at €792.2m. A final bid is expected within two weeks.
Wegener financial director Koos Boot said the company has agreed with the offer price. ‘We are looking at what is good for company operations and personnel,’ he told ANP news agency. He said he hoped the deal could be completed by the end of the year.
Mecom, set up by British newspaper tycoon David Montgomery, already owns the two regional papers in Limburg.
The Dutch newspaper market has been in flux for some time as companies struggle to cope with declining subscription levels. News of the Mecom/Wegener deal coincided with the launch of the fourth free newspaper on the Dutch market – DAG is a joint venture between PCM and KPN.

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