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Sanoma sells weekly Figyelő

Sanoma Media Budapest Zrt, the Hungarian unit of Finnish publisher Sanoma, has sold Hungarian business weekly Figyelő to the Hungarian-owned publisher Word Communications, the seller informed MTI on Thursday without specifying a price.

Citing unconfirmed information, the business daily Napi Gazdaság reported on Friday that the price was around HUF 100 million.

Figyelő had 12,845 average circulation a week in Q4 2010 according to the Hungarian distributors' association Matesz.

The sales contract is for Figyelő, connected assets and rights. Sanoma Media Budapest will continue to sell advertising in Figyelő until the end of 2012. The sale does not include the rights to the on-line version of Figyelő, fn.hu.

Napi Gazdaság reported that Word Communications plans to launch a new, subscription-based version of Figyelő, figyelo.hu, by March 2012.

The aim of the purchase is "to publish and develop an independent and reliable economic weekly, based on Figyelő's decades of tradition and professional staff", Sanoma's statement said, citing Word Communications managing director Enikő Vajdics .

Vajdics told Napi Gazdaság that Word Communications paid the purchase price of Figyelő using the company's own resources, though may later seek bank loans to finance the operation of the business weekly. Ms Vajdics said that Word Communications posted a small profit in 2010.

Word Communications had sales revenue of HUF 168 million and operating losses of HUF 11 million in 2009, Napi Gazdaság reported, citing data from company-information provider Opten. The daily noted that Ms Vajdics is co-owner of Word Communications along with the hologram maker and distributor Hologram VM Kft, which the newspaper said had net losses of HUF 77 million and outstanding debt of HUF 218 million in 2009.

Sanoma Media Budapest invited tender in October 2010 for the sale of Figyelő and rights to the weekly's TOP 200 and Figyelő Trend publications as well as Figyelő-sponsored conferences.

Two other companies – Business Gazdaság Tanacsadó Kft and Est Media, known as econet.hu until earlier this year – were reported to have also submitted bids.