An article written by Eesti Ekspress today sheds light on the inside dealings of the planned Eesti Meedia buyout.
The weekly reports that last winter the heads of Ekspress Grupp sought to buy Eesti Meedia from its Norwegian parent company Schibsted. Eesti Meedia and Ekspress Grupp are Estonia's two biggest media corporations.
But according to the paper, it was been hinted that the Competition Authority would never support the deal, which would place most of Estonia's media in the hands of a single corporation.
The paper claims that even government officials have implied opposition to such a move. Today's article asserts that Prime Minister Andrus Ansip was thinking of Ekspress Grupp when at a press conference he referred to Estonia's decline in media freedom rankings, saying: "The [rankings'] new methodology takes into account, among other things, the ownership concentration of journalistic publications.“
According to Eesti Ekspress, when there was initially no clear buyer for Eesti Meedia, Schibsted turned to Gazprom Media.
But last week it was reported that Eesti Meedia, led by chairman Mart Kadastik, has been negotiating a management buyout.
A listed corporation, Eesti Meedia owns Postimees, the Kroonpress printing house and Kanal2, with stakes in Õhtuleht and Express Post. It also holds five of Estonia's biggest regional newspapers and magazines elsewhere in the Baltics.
The media company has failed to bring profits to its Norwegian parent for the last eight years.