Mecom seen looking to sell Norway unit
OSLO: UK-based European newspaper publisher Mecom is looking to sell its Norwegian newspaper division Edda Media just two years after it bought the business, Norwegian financial daily Dagens Naeringsliv reported.
Mecom, headed by former Mirror Group chief David Montgomery, bought the Norwegian papers from conglomerate Orkla in 2006 for 7.5 billion Norwegian crowns (729 million pounds).
Montgomery, who told Dagens Naeringsliv in March he was not selling Edda Media, has come under pressure from shareholders disappointed with the steep drop in London-listed Mecom's share price, the paper said.
Mecom shares, which fell 2.5 percent to 19.25 pounds on the London Stock Exchange, have lost 62 percent this year and are down 80 percent from a peak in July last year.
"The Mecom board has not yet decided to sell Edda Media," Dagens Naringsliv said.
"Behind the scenes, however, an informal sales process has been put in motion," it said, adding that activity around a sale had grown more intense in recent weeks.
"If the price is high enough, everything points to a sale," the newspaper said.
A Mecom spokeswoman declined to comment on what she called a market rumour.
Possible buyers are Norwegian media groups A-Pressen and Berner Gruppen and directory services firm Opplysningen, Dagens Naeringsliv said.
Edda Media has 49 newspapers, a number of websites, interests in local radio and television stations and 1,750 employees, Dagens Naeringsliv said.
The acquisition by Mecom in 2006 caused a big stir in Norway and fears for the future of local newspapers.
International Herald Tribune
New York Times