Report: Simicska plans to buy index.hu before Vajna, Habony
Business magnate Lajos Simicska, who has suffered a shrinking media portfolio since he had a public falling out with Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, is planning to purchase daily news portal index.hu, which is currently owned by FHB Chairman Zoltán Spéder, according to reports.
Simicska reportedly said in a closed-door meeting on Monday that “it is not permissible that Hungary’s leading online media should be controlled by (Prime Minister Viktor) Orbán and (Árpád) Habony”, the online version of daily Magyar Nemzet, which is owned by Simicska, reported yesterday.
Simicska apparently did not mention any specific plans at the meeting. But Hungarian news reports suggested that Simicska is trying to purchase the portal, as he has an option agreement to do so, just as his associate had for commercial channel TV2, which was finally bought by government commissioner Andrew G. Vajna. The portal could change owners within the next few days, according to reports.
Hungarian weekly 168 Óra said last week that Simicska’s option could enable him to make an offer on the news portal, before government friendly media owners Vajna and Habony gain ownership.
Simicska recently sold Adventio Zrt., which operates radio station Class FM and the recently cancelled free daily Metropol, due to changes on the media market, and this could be part of Simicska’s plan to obtain index, according to reports.
Magyar Nemzet online also wrote that, according to 168 Óra’s sources, Lőrinc Mészáros, Orbanʼs close friend, is interested in buying Mediaworks, which owns the daily Népszabadság and sports daily Nemzeti Sport.
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