British company Mecom to buy newspaper publisher Berliner Verlag

David Montgomery, the former chief executive of the Mirror Group PLC, said Tuesday that his company Mecom Group PLC and a partner are buying publisher Berliner Verlag GmbH & Co., putting its newspapers under foreign ownership. Mecom and investment firm Veronis Suhler Stevenson didn't disclose the price it was paying for , which publishes the Berliner Zeitung and Berliner Kurier, from Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbHVerlagsgruppe.

It did, however, say that under a shareholder agreement, Veronis Suhler will invest Ђ11.8 million (US$14.09 million) for a 14.9 percent stake in the acquisition.

"We will be proud custodians of the titles within Berliner Verlag, committed to the highest journalistic standards, editorial integrity and good management," Montgomery said in a statement.

The deal requires regulatory approval, but Mecom said it expected that by late next month.

Montgomery will become the non-executive chairman of Berliner Verlag's supervisory board while Gerd Shulte-Hillen, the former CEO of Gruner + Jahr, will become the non-executive vice chairman.

The Berliner Zeitung has a daily circulation of 185,000 while the Berlin Kurier has a daily circulation of 121,000 copies.

Montgomery told Deutsche Welle television that the papers would be examined in regards to cost, but didn't say if there would be layoffs.

"There won't be any loss in quality, but there are always, naturally, possibilities of working more efficiently," he said.


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