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Antitrust Bureau confirms takeover ban of newspaper distributor PNS

The Appeals Commission of the Antitrust Bureau has confirmed the bureau's ruling from November 20, 1998, which banned the takeover of the largest newspaper distributor, PNS, by massive printing house and news publisher Danubiaprint.

The national privatization agency (FNM) sold the PNS in February 1998 to the printing house and publisher Danubiaprint, which prints most of the periodical press in Slovakia and publishes several newspapers. Importantly, its owners were considered close to the former government of Vladimír Mečiar.

The sales price was 410 million Sk ($10.8 million). The privatization of PNS was criticized by publishers and the opposition because of fears it could be politically misused to harass other media.

When the appeal commission's ruling comes into effect, the FNM plans to withdraw from the sales contract, as one of the provisions in the contract stipulates.

The Antitrust Bureau decided to block the takeover because it strengthened Danubiaprint's already dominant position on a market while it did not result in significant general benefits from this economic concentration.

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