Newspaper group PCM sold to Persgroep

The PCM newspaper group, which owns the NRC, Volkskrant and Trouw newspapers, is to be sold to Belgian newspaper company Persgroep, both companies said on Tuesday.

Persgroep is to pay €100m for a 51% stake in PCM, which will use the cash to reduce its debts.
‘This is an important strategic step for us,’ said Persgroep CEO Christian Van Thillo. The takeover means four of the Netherlands six biggest paid-for newspapers are in the hands of the same company.
Persgroep already owns Amsterdam paper Het Parool, which PCM sold off in January 2003, saying it was not profitable.
Talks on the future of the AD media group, which publishes the AD newspaper, are continuing. PCM has a 60% stake in that company, the rest is owned by Wegener, itself part of a British newspaper conglomerate.
Investment company HAL, which owns the Financieele Dagblad, Holland’s only financial paper, also brought out a bid for PCM, according to media reports.
PCM needed to find a partner following the pull-out of British venture capital group Apax in 2007, which left the company with debts of €400m.
Dutch media minister Ronald Plasterk said he had mixed feelings about the takeover. ‘I have said before that I am not in favour of so many leading titles being in the hands of the same owner. It is not good for diversity and makes it harder to innovate,’ he said in an interview with the Parool.

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