Eesti Meedia Countersues Ekspress Grupp ({{commentsTotal}})

Eesti Meedia, the owner of Postimees, turned to the court of arbitration on Wednesday, demanding 8.6 million euros from rival Ekspress Grupp over the dragged out sale of co-owned daily Õhtuleht.

The media giant said that Ekspress Grupp did not transfer money for its share of Õhtuleht and two other co-owned companies by the December 16 deadline, Postimees said on Thursday.

Ekspress Grupp, which controls Delfi, received the right to buy the three companies when Eesti Meedia was bought out by its own management last year, but took Eesti Meedia to court three days before the payment deadline, saying that the company has hindered the purchase.

In what appears to be a case of he-said-she-said, the nation's two largest media groups are each accusing the other of breach of contract, and demanding substantial compensation.

The co-owned Õhtuleht is one of the few profitable newspapers in the nation, earning around 300,000 to 400,000 euros annually as well as a similar sum from profits made from printing the paper. Each media concern owns its own printing house, but the daily is currently printed by Eesti Meedia.

Mart Kadastik, the CEO of Eesti Meedia, said in an ETV interview on Tuesday that in reality, neither side wants Õhtuleht, as the printed press is heading for the history bin. He earlier speculated that his rival simply does not have the necessary funds to go through with the purchase and is trying to delay the process.

His Ekspress Grupp counterpart, Gunnar Kobin, told on Thursday that Kadastik had admitted to hindering the purchase, adding that the new court case is not the first time Eesti Meedia has come out with absurd demands.