Buyers of WAZ Assets in Bulgaria Fall OutBusiness | March 29, 2011, Tuesday // 18:40| views
Photos by Sofia Photo Agency
The new owners of WAZ Mediengruppe assets in Bulgaria, which include the two wide-circulation Trud and 24 Hours newspapers, have clashed in an open conflict just three months after sealing the deal.
A 83% stake in the holding, which is now called Media Group Bulgaria, have been transferred to Ognyan Donev, chairman and majority owner of Sopharma, the biggest Bulgarian generic drugmaker, and Lyubomir Pavlov, former chairman of the Sofia-based Municipal Bank, show documents in the Business (Trade) Registry of Bulgaria's Registry Agency.
According to local media reports the deal was concluded without informing Vienna-registered BG Privatinvest Ltd, which until recently held a majority stake – 53% - in the press group.
Learning about the sale, Hristo Grozev, one of the partners in the company, was quick to block all transfers in the trade registry until the circumstances of the deal are clarified.
Vienna-registered BG Privatinvest Ltd acquired a majority stake in the publisher of the two wide-circulation Bulgarian Trud and 24 Hours newspapers in the middle of December last year, while the remainder was held by local businessmen Ognyan Donev and Lyubomir Pavlov.
The new owners acquired 100% in WAZ Zeitungsgruppe Bulgarien (ZGB). The price of the deal was not disclosed, but reports said it ranged from BGN 60 M to BGN 120 M.
The transaction included Trud and 24 Hours daily newspapers, 168 Hours weekly newspaper, Trud weekly, a few magazines, eight regional newspapers, a printing house, distribution company Strela and ZGB's headquarters in downtown Sofia and across the country.
At the beginning, BG Privatinvest was controlled by Karl Habsburg, Daniel Rutz and Hristo Grozev. Austrian Karl Habsburg held a 33-percent stake in the newly-established company.
A check in the Austrian Business Registry has shown that recently German national Daniel Rutz has quit BG Privatinvest and now the other two partners hold a 50% stake each.
The Bulgarian partners of BG Privatinvest include Ognyan Donev, chairman and majority owner of Sopharma, the biggest Bulgarian generic drugmaker, and Lyubomir Pavlov, former chairman of the Sofia-based Municipal Bank.
Even before the deal the two are known to have been on good personal and professional terms since Pavlov holds a 16% stake in Sopharma via a financial consultancy.
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