New Wave Productions, the owner of Hungarian news site Vs.hu, is set to acquire Origo Media Zrt., reports news site 444.hu. The purchase will include Origo services such as Freemail.hu, Videa and two television channels. According to 444.hu, the purchase agreement will be announced on Friday.
Magyar Telekom, the owner of Origo Media Zrt., has been trying to sell the loss-making Origo for at least one year. When news emerged of Magyar Telekom’s intention to sell Origo, several potential buyers were rumored to have expressed an interest, including Docler (owned by György Gattyán), CEMP (owner of Index.hu), and Médiaháló Kft. (owned by Terror House Director Mária Schmidt).
New Wave Productions is owned by Tamás Szemerey, a cousin of Hungarian National Bank chairman György Matolcsy.
Origo made international news last year after editor-in-chief Gergő Sáling was forced to resign when Minister Overseeing the Office of the Prime Minister János Lázár pressured the company’s owners to stop publishing stories about his secretive and expensive travels.
According to 444.hu, New Wave Productions has been undertaking an interesting expansion in the Hungarian market and has been courting several Hungarian media companies. New Wave’s purchase of Origo may make it the single largest online publisher in Hungary with a combined editorial staff of over 70.
According to Index.hu, Vs.hu’s employees learned about the purchase of Vs.hu from 444.hu’s article.