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Petit Press absorbs troubled Práca daily

PETIT Press publishing house, publisher of the Sme daily and The Slovak Spectator among 30 periodicals, acquired the Praca daily on June 1, expanding the holdings of Slovakia's strongest publishing group.

Sme editor Martin Šimeeka has also taken over the post of editor-in-chief of Praca, which has around a 2.6 per cent share of the print media market, but says that the daily will be incorporated into Sme by this fall.

Praca's previous owner, Prvá Narodná Mediálna (PNM), had expanded its ownership from 50 per cent to 100 per cent in 2001, after buying out the share of the Trade Unions Confederation following what union leaders called "unacceptable" transformation.

Praca was traditionally an organ for the trade unions, but over the past several years, union leadership had been growing increasingly unhappy with editorial and administrative changes, designed to make the paper appeal to a wider audience, but which the labour group complained had turned the newspaper into a tabloid.

Last year, Petit Press merged with Grand Press to create the largest publishing firm on the Slovak market. Majority ownership in Petit Press is a joint venture between the VMV publishing house and German firm Verlagsgruppe Passau.

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