Bidder says suspension of TS Media sale bad news for Slovenia

Ljubljana – Responding to Telekom Slovenije suspending the sale of its subsidiary TS Media, United Group, one of the bidders, said that this was bad news for all foreign investors and even worse for Slovenia.

“Our bid was very good and it is obvious that it is not possible to carry out in Slovenia an independent and fair tender whose objective is exclusively in the domain of economic interests,” United Group’s vice president of marketing and media Victoriya Boklag said.

“This is bad news for all foreign investors and even worse for Slovenia and its position,” Boklag added in the press release on Thursday.

The response comes after the state-owned telco announced on Wednesday it was suspending the sale of its outright stake in TS Media, whose portfolio includes the news portal Siol.net as its most valuable asset.

According to media reports, there were two bidders, United Media, the media division of United Group, and the Hungarian media company TV2 Media, which last year acquired the Planet TV station from Telekom Slovenije for EUR 5 million.

The news portal Necenzurirano recently reported that United Group had the more favourable bid, EUR 5 million, exceeding that by TV2 Media by more than EUR 3 million.

Telekom Slovenije chairman Cvetko Sršen, who took over in mid-March, has told TV Slovenija that not all risk aspects had been taken into account and that new expert opinions have shown that there were many market opportunities for TS Media.

Sršen, who has been a candidate of the ruling Democrats (SDS) in local elections, denied that it was a political decision related to the importance of Siol.net.

Boklag added in today’s press release that the suspension of the TS Media sale did not affect the plans by United Group to set up a news portal under the N1 brand in Slovenia.

“The arrival of the new information portal will ensure independent reporting without influence on editorial policy, as journalists will work exclusively for their readers without partial interests,” Boklag concluded.