Ekspress Grupp to Let Õhtuleht Deadline Slide
Ekspress Grupp said it will not hand over payment for co-owned daily Õhtuleht by today's deadline and is taking Eesti Meedia, the other owner, to court.
Head of the group, Gunnar Kobin, told uudised.err.ee today that Ekspress will not pay Eesti Meedia today, and is demanding 3.5 million euros in court from the company instead, claiming that it has impeded the transaction.
Eesti Meedia, owner of the country's biggest daily Postimees, was subject to a management buyout a few months ago, unlocking Ekspress Grupp's right to purchase the other half of the daily, and two other companies.
Eesti Meedia's CEO Mart Kadastik said that according to an initial agreement, three international auditors valued Õhtuleht and the other two companies and unveiled the sum on December 9, after which Ekspress Grupp had a week to make the payment.
Kadastik said that he does not know what Ekspress Grupp is protesting about, speculating that it may not have liked the price, or does not have the funds or had no serious intent to make the purchase in the first place.
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. Both media concerns own their own printing houses, but the daily is currently printed by Eesti Meedia.