Tuesday, April 25, 2006


Yesterday I had a meeting with Jan Wegstapel, CFO of Dutch local/regional newspaper company Wegener in Apeldoorn. Here are my notes (in Dutch).

There is some new stuff to the investment story:
  • Mecom bought the Limburg newspapers of Telegraaf and is working on another acquisition. Wegener however confirms it is not in talks with Mecom, which says it is in advanced talks. That seems contrary to what investors currently speculate upon.
  • For growth, Wegener has now turned attention abroad (the local Internet market is perceived to be small in revenue terms; the market for regional radio and TV is both small and controlled by state funded companies; the market for free dailies is controlled by Metro and Telegraaf; the magazine market is controlled by Sanoma). Germany and Scandinavia is where Wegener could be interested.
  • A merger with NDC (#4 in the country, with newspapers in the northern part) is not ruled out. However, the foundations controlling NDC up until now have said they want NDC to remain independent.
  • The Direct Marketing division (100%), housing site Funda (30%) and alternative mail company Selekt Mail (48%) could all be sold, but a deal is far off. Each first has to attain a comfortable level of profitability, in order to demand a fair price.

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