BUSINESS IN SHORT

Internet mega merger starts

INTERNET portals Centrum.sk and Atlas.sk are to have a single owner. Their parent companies NetCentrum.cz and Atlas.cz officially announced on February 26 that the Dutch company Centrum.cz Holding controlled by US fund Warburg Pincus has acquired both, the Hospodárske Noviny daily wrote.

INTERNET portals Centrum.sk and Atlas.sk are to have a single owner. Their parent companies NetCentrum.cz and Atlas.cz officially announced on February 26 that the Dutch company Centrum.cz Holding controlled by US fund Warburg Pincus has acquired both, the Hospodárske Noviny daily wrote.

Centrum.sk and Atlas.sk are third and sixth, respectively, in the Slovak market judged by the number of original hits.

Thanks to the merger, the new internet group will have about 1.4 million visitors in Slovakia and 3.5 million visitors in the Czech Republic. It will try to overtake Zoznam.sk of the Slovak Telekom group or Azet.sk, which are number one and two, respectively, in the Slovak internet market.

Private equity group Warburg Pincus acquired Centrum in December. It paid between Kč2.5 billion - Kč3 billion (€100 million-120 million) for NetCentrum in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The price of Atlas was estimated at between Kč600 million (€24 million-€32 million).

"The goal of the merger is a faster growth in the Czech Republic and Slovakia," Pavel Mucha, head of the board of directors at NetCentrum, told the daily. Trademarks of both portals should be preserved, but they should develop together in the future.

"The integrating process will start on February 27," said Mucha. "Its task is to connect the know-how, talents and culture of the two companies."

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