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Babiš’ Agrofert strengthens control over Czech and Slovak media sector

Prague, Czech Republic – Mafra, the publishing house part of Agrofert, announced on Tuesday that it struck a deal with German company Bauer Media to take control of its Czech and Slovak assets.

Although the value of the takeover hasn’t been disclosed, Czech economic daily Hospodářské noviny estimates that it could reach 1 billion CZK (around 40 million euros). The deal now has to be approved by anti-trust regulators.

This takeover significantly strengthens the control of Mafra – and parent company Agrofert – over both Slovakia and the Czech Republic‘s media landscape and considerably expands its portfolio (which already includes outlets such as Lidové noviny and Mladá Fronta Dnes).

With a turnover of over 700 million CZK last year, 30 magazines and a combined readership of 3.4 million, Bauer Media is a major player in Slovakia and the Czech Republic and mainly publishes women and lifestyle magazines and tabloids (Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Harper’s Bazaar, Žena a život, Chvilka pro tebe…).

Agricultural giant and conglomerate Agrofert was founded in the 1990s privatization era and owned by Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, who was forced to transfer his assets into a trust fund last year to comply with new anti-conflict of interest regulations. Critics and transparency watchdog groups however claim that the PM is still the de-facto owner of the conglomerate.

Headed by Kafkadesk's chief-editor Jules Eisenchteter, our Prague office gathers over half a dozen reporters, editors and contributors, as well as our social media team. It covers everything Czech and Slovak-related, and oversees operations from our other Central European desks in Krakow and Budapest.