Government film commissioner and casino magnate Andy Vajna entered the newspaper market Monday when he signed the contract giving him control of Lapcom Kiadó Zrt., the publisher of county newspapers Délmagyarország and Kisalföld, as well as the tabloid Bors. Vajna’s company Avalue Befektetési Kft. acquired the publisher from its previous owner Radio Bridge Media Holdings Ltd., as well as two printing presses owned by Lapcom. The value of the purchase was undisclosed.
The government’s Economic Competition Office must now examine the legality of the contract which, as 24.hu notes, appears little more than a formality after Vajna’s acquisition of the publisher was given preemptive approval by Hungary’s media authority in August.
Radio Bridge Media Holdings Ltd., which is based in the Cayman Islands, had a revenue of some HUF 10 billion (USD 39 million) and after-tax profits of HUF 1.3 billion last year.
“The purchase of Lapcom is an important milestone in my media investments,” Vajna said. “My goal is for the newspapers and online publications belonging to Lapcom to be developed further.”
The combined daily circulation of the three print publications exceeds 140,000, and they have a combined readership of some 650,000 peaople. The online versions of the publications, kisalfold.hu, delmagyar.hu and borsonline.hu, receive a combined 170,000 unique page visits daily.
Vajna, who owns Hungary’s second-largest commercial television station TV2, as well as radio station Radio 1 which is broadcast on more than two dozen local frequencies across Hungary, rounds out a triumvirate of Fidesz-connected oligarchs who now own all 18 of Hungary’s regional newspapers. His purchases of both TV2 and Lapcom were partially financed by loans furnished by the Hungarian Trade Bank (MKB), of which oligarch Lőrinc Mészaros is the majority owner.
For more information on how Fidesz-tied oligarchs have bought up major portions of the Hungarian media, take a look at the following two videos.