Monday, October 29, 2007

Wegener part of Mecom now

The acquisition of the Dutch newspaper company Royal Wegener by the British Mecom Group Plc is definite. Mecom has picked up 86,56 percent of the Wegener shares. The parties have announced that Mecom declares its recommended public offer for all issued and outstanding ordinary shares in the share capital of Wegener unconditional. Mecom has decided not to announce a subsequent tender period for the outstanding shares. Mecom offered 800 million euro for Wegener. Mecom offered 17,70 euro per Wegenere share or 14,29 Mecom shares per Wegener share.

This ends the period for shareholders to hand in their shares and agree with the acquisition. As after the official period, there was more than 75 percent of the shares handed in, but not 95 percent, the period was extended. De facto Wegener is now part of the Mecom Group. Mecom has decided that there is no subsequent tender period for the shareholders who did not hand in their shares.

During the tender period Wegener shareholder Governance for Owners llp (GO) indicated that it did not agree with the offer. It looked for other parties of disgruntled shareholders. In September GO indicated that it was talking to those parties. But apparently they have been unable to convince them to withhold converting their shares. GO possessed a package of 13,3 percent of Wegener shares. Mecom will be able to smoke out GO.

In the meantime the acquisition has received the seal of approval from the Dutch monopoly watch dog NMa. The authority has agreed with the acquisition under the condition that Mecom will divest the majority of the free broadsheet newspapers group De Trompetter. These newspapers are delivered door to door in the South of the Netherlands. The NMa judged that especially in Limburg competition in the advertisement market was needed. Now a part of the Media Group Limburg will have to be sold, most likely to regional competitors such the German newspaper company Aachener Verlag or the Belgian publisher Concentra.

The acquisition has yielded unrest especially among the employees of the Brabant newspapers. Presently there are three newspapers (BN/DeStem, Brabants Dagblad en Eindhovens Dagblad) being produced in that province.. Mecom CEO David Montgomery is of the conviction that a regional newspaper can be produced by 75 employees. The Branbat newspapers exceed this norm.

Mecom sees this acquisition as another piece of the European continental puzzle. It has already regional newspapers in Germany, Poland, Denmark and Norway. By acquiring Wegener it covers a large part of the Netherlands.

Blog Posting Number: 909

Tags: newspapers

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