The buzz around today's announcement of Mecom's takeover plans for Dutch regional newspaper group Wegener started ticking into my newsreader this morning via Dutch twitters, blogs and newspapers. Monty continues his march across Europe, wrote Charles Pretzlik in his FT business blog around noon.
It's a march that no doubt will leave prospective and existing employees with mixed feelings at best. Employees at recently acquired Mecom newspapers are particularly worried about increased profitability demands and the company's highly geared business model:
"We are most worried that Mecom's profitability demands will mean that we won't be able to develop the newspapers the way we have to in the face of today's competitive media landscape. Orkla was like Uncle Scrooge's money bin. Now we have been sold to a company financed by loans, which creates a much more unstable situation," Olav Skjegstad, an employee representative and board member of Mecom Europe, told me in a previous interview.
This does not seem to worry Mecom-boss Montgomery, who recently launched a £570m share issue to fund further acquisitions in continental Europe. When Montgomery was in Oslo for a debate at the annual conference of Norway's journalist union, less than two weeks back, he said: "We have £65m in debts. We're a very well funded company. In fact, we don't have enough debts at the moment."