Mecom Group PLC is to acquire a 13.3 per cent. interest in Koninklijke Wegener N.V. from funds managed by Governance for Owners (“GfO”) for a consideration of 8,659,201 ordinary shares in Mecom (which, based on the closing share price on 13th March 2012, implies a transaction value of €16.9m). On Completion, Mecom will hold 99.7 per cent. of the ordinary share capital of Wegener. GfO’s shareholding in Mecom post Completion will be 7.1 per cent.
Wegener is the largest publisher of regional daily newspapers and free door-to-door newspapers in the Netherlands. Wegener’s seven regional daily titles account for 23 per cent. of the country’s total paid-for daily newspaper circulation by volume, and its more than 200 door-to-door weekly freesheets have a daily readership of around 5.5 million. In addition to its core print business, Wegener owns and operates a portfolio of more than 200 websites, comprising the online editions of its seven paid daily newspapers and most of its weekly freesheets, and several standalone special interest websites.
Wegener’s total revenue from the audited accounts for the year ending 31st December 2011 was €513 million, of which 46 per cent. came from advertising and 40 per cent. from newspaper circulation. Wegener’s profit before tax for the year ended 31st December 2011 was €37 million. The consolidated gross assets of Wegener as at 31st December 2011 amounted to €639 million.
The transaction allows for simplification of Mecom’s group structure, provides operational and commercial efficiencies and will enhance earnings per share for the Group going forward. The acquisition is classified as a Related Party Transaction under the UK Listing Rules and therefore requires the approval of Mecom shareholders at a general meeting, to be held on 2nd April 2012
Tom Toumazis, Chief Executive of Mecom, said, “The acquisition of this substantial minority shareholding in Wegener will simplify the Group’s ownership structure and allow us to integrate our Dutch operations fully within one legal structure and management team. We look forward to continuing our dialogue with Governance for Owners in their new position as shareholders in Mecom.”
UK, London & Netherlands, Amsterdam
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