Businessman Andrej Babiš has bought MAFRA, the Czech media group that publishes the major dailies Mladá fronta Dnes and Lidové noviny. He bought it from Rheinisch-Bergische Verlagsgesellschaft; the German company confirmed the sale on Wednesday. The terms of the deal were not disclosed but the businessman said he would not introduce any changes at MAFRA which would lead to layoffs, and said that he will not have a position in any decision-making bodies. The sale must still be cleared by the anti-monopoly office. Mr Babiš has political ambitions: he founded a party named ANO 2011 which aims to run in the next general election.
The Slovak-born billionaire Andrej Babiš made a major acquisition on the Czech media market this week – buying the Mafra publishing house that prints two of the country’s biggest dailies, Mladá Fronta Dnes and Lidové Noviny. The move still needs to be approved by the country’s anti-trust office, but if given the green light, marks a significant step forward for Mr Babiš – who has political ambitions too.
Businessman Andrej Babiš has denied reports that he has bought the Czech branch of Ringier Axel Springer. The publishing company owns a number of titles, including the biggest Czech tabloids Blesk and Aha! There had been speculation for some time that Mr. Babiš, who owns some of the Czech Republic’s largest food companies and other concerns, was planning to buy the publisher and one news site reported on Monday that he had done so last week for CZK 4 billion. As well as his business interests, Mr. Babiš has a political party named ANO 2011.
In Business News this week: European Commission says Czech Republic needs no further austerity this year; Czech central bank cuts growth forecast for this and next year; Finance Ministry launches monitor of public finances; Škoda considers plans to produce utility vans; six Czechs are ranked among dollar billionaires; and groundbreaking travel firm Student Agency eyes Prague’s taxi market.
In Business News this week: The Czech Ministry of Finance cuts its growth outlook for the year to almost zero; fresh figures show 7.2 percent of Czechs were jobless in Q4 2012; passenger numbers and flights were down at Prague airport last year; spas report a halving of business in just three months; and experts say luxury flats in Prague have maintained their value.
Successful businessman and crown billionaire Andrej Babiš will not put forward a candidate list for this year’s regional elections, the internet daily Insider reports. According to the site, the decision was taken after a meeting of supporters on Thursday backing the businessman’s plans to build up Ano 2011 on the strength of an anti-corruption message. Instead of the regional elections, Mr Babiš will reportedly focus on the next general election in 2014. This year, the website added, he could still support independent candidates for the Senate. Mr Babiš is not the first in recent years to come forward with an anti-corruption platform: the smallest party in government, Public Affairs, succeeded in 2010 to get into the lower house of Parliament on a pledge to fight corruption. Voter preference for Public Affairs has since plummeted following a scandal last year that almost brought down the government.
Business magnate Andrej Babiš – chairman and majority owner of Agrofert
– is aiming to make inroads into Czech politics reports the daily Mladá
fronta Dnes. Several weeks ago Mr Babiš founded an initiative known as
Akci nespokojených občanů (ANO 2011) in the aim of drawing attention to
corruption and other problems faced by the government. The businessman
the Czech newspaper that he had ambitions to succeed in parliamentary
elections in 2014, suggesting that politicians currently in power were not
doing a good job. His initiative’s aims are to push for greater
better legislation and a better justice system, Mr Babiš said.
Several parties in the past have also run on anti-corruption platforms: Public Affairs, an upstart party prior to the last elections gained seats in the lower house and consequently a spot in the current centre-right government on the basis of its anti-corruption message.
In today’s business news: The Czech prime minister speaks out against using EFSM funds to bail out Greece; the agrochemical giant Agrofert holding is to acquire eight new companies; the Czech power giant ČEZ will be collaborating with consultancy firm McKinsey & Co; the country’s fruit farmers and wine growers estimate damages caused by unexpected frosts in spring to reach half a billion crowns; and the biggest Czech insurer brings forward an interesting analysis of the country’s pension savings habits.
In Business News this week: the Finance Ministry revises its growth prediction for the Czech economy upwards; the government delays a sale of international bonds because of uncertainty in the wake of the Greek debt crisis; Škoda Auto sees its profits increase by over 500 percent in the first quarter; agribusiness tycoon Andrej Babiš says the EU is destroying the Czech food industry; and Czechs spend twice as much of their income on booze and tobacco products as the average EU citizen.