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Antitrust Bureau prohibits PNS takeover by Danubiaprint

On November 20, the Slovak Antitrust Bureau issued a decision banning the privatisation of Prvá Novinová Spoločnost (PNS, the nation's dominant newspaper distributor) by Danubiaprint, the country's largest printing firm. Parties involved in the takeover can appeal the verdict within a 15-day legal deadline.

The FNM (national privatization agency) Presidium okayed the takeover on February 19, 1998. Under the terms of the deal, Danubiaprint got 97% of PNS shares for 410 million Sk, but the actual purchase price was only 190 million Sk, the remaining 220 million Sk being written off against future investments.

At the time, Slovak newspaper publishers severely criticised the takeover as an unacceptable concentration of power, saying that Danubiaprint had taken control of both the printing and distribution of Slovak newspapers and magazines, thereby endangering freedom of the press.

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