Business/politics weekly Figyelő may be sold off by the end of October, reports Hungarian news site 444.hu. The two front-runners, according to 444, are none other than Tamás Szemerey (cousin of National Bank of Hungary governor György Matolcsy) and Terror House executive director Mária Schmidt.
Szemerey would reportedly purchase Figyelő through a proxy, Ákos Ducsai. Ducsai is the man behind the tender-writing consultancy Tenderauditor. According to nol.hu, there are unconfirmed reports that Ducsai has already made a down payment for the struggling print weekly in escrow with an attorney.
Earlier, New Wave owner István Száraz confirmed that he was in talks to buy the weekly, but he lost his appetite for the purchase after the uncovering of the extent to which his growing media empire was financed by foundations belonging to the central bank. Many in the media business suspected that Szemerey had propped up Száraz’s media business. The National Bank scandal pretty much discredited Száraz’s credibility in the news business and resulted in a large portion of his editorial staff leaving for other outlets.
By working through Ducsai, Szemerey would still have a proxy through which he could impose his will upon the weekly.
While Mária Schmidt is considered the other frontrunner, 444 writes that Szemerey is more likely to win out. Schmidt acquired Médiaháló Kft. last spring when the sale of news site Origo.hu was the hot topic on the media market, but the news site was bought up by Száraz’s media business. Schmidt also tried unsuccessfully to acquire the weekly Heti Válasz.