Montgomery’s Mecom buys Norwegian media group

Mecom, the AIM-listed, media investment group, has acquired another European publisher with the purchase of Norway’s Orkla Media Group.

Mecom, headed by David Montgomery, the former Mirror Group chief executive, has continued its pursuit of European media assets with the purchase of the media arm of Orkla, a Norwegian conglomerate.
Orkla said in a regulatory statement yesterday that its board of directors had authorised the sale of Orkla Media Group for an undisclosed sum. As part of the transaction, Orkla also “intends to become a significant shareholder” in Mecom, but said that the size of the stake is yet to be determined.
Mecom was not available for comment.

Mecom reportedly paid $1.1bn for Orkla’s media assets

According to a report in The Daily Telegraph, a UK broadsheet, the sale was worth $1.1 billion, Mecom’s largest acquisition to date. In January, Mecom and Veronis Suhler Stevenson, a New York-based media-focused private equity firm, bought German daily Hamburger Morgenpost as an add-on to their purchase of Berliner Verlag, a German publisher, last October. In May, Mecom bought Dutch publisher the Limburg Group from the Telegraaf Media Groep for €220 million ($275 million).
Orkla Media has newspaper and website publishing divisions in Norway, Denmark and Poland as well as magazine operations in Norway and Sweden. The group has also moved into digital media in recent years in the Nordic countries and Germany, and has direct marketing operations in Lithuania and the Ukraine.
According to Orkla, the company has a 15 percent share of national circulation in Norway, 31 percent of the daily and 42 percent of the Sunday newspaper market in Denmark and a 19 percent share in Poland. Operating revenues for the group totalled NOK8.67 billion (€1.1 billion) in 2005, with operating profit before amortisation of NOK425 million.
Orkla said that upon completion of the purchase, Mecom will set up a European operation head office in Oslo. Mecom’s base is in London.