Mecom sells German media holdings

Mecom sells German media holdings
Photo: DPA
British-owned Mecom, publisher of dailies Berliner Zeitung and Hamburger Morgenpost, has sold its German holdings to Cologne-based media group M. DuMont Schauberg just three years after entering the market, the company confirmed on Tuesday in London.

The €152-million in the deal will add a readership of some 100 million and 900 employees to M. DuMont Schauberg’s holdings, which include dailies Frankfurter Rundschau and the Kölner Stadtanzeiger, Express, Kölnische Rundschau, and Mitteldeutsche Zeitung.

Mecom, founded by David Montgomery, still owns some 300 newspapers, websites and magazines in Europe, but it hopes to reduce a reported €662 million in debt with the sale of its German division.

Because Dumont has not yet entered the Berlin and Hamburg media markets, the deal awaits approval from German competition regulators.

Montgomery acquired the publisher Berliner Verlag – which runs daily Berliner Zeitung, Berlin city magazine Tip and internet newspaper portal Netzeitung – three years ago in a controversial deal giving full-ownership of a publishing house to a foreign investor for the first time in the German media industry.

Editorial staff at the Berliner Zeitung, which has strongly opposed Mecom’s cost-cutting over the years, accepted the news “with pleasure” in a statement. The current editor-in-chief of the Frankfurter Rundschau, Uwe Vorkötter, once headed the Berliner Zeitung, but left after clashing with Montgomery over strategy.