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To merge or not, part II

How convenient that I didn't start writing about this proposed merger before it hit the final stages: if I had I'd be on part xxx. The only firm decision reached yesterday was that Adresseavisa, as expected, opted out of the merger. The other parties will continue the negotiations. In doing so, Bergens Tidene (BT) is acting against the will of Mecom, the papers' biggest shareholder (28,5pc), who would see their majority position in BT reduced to a very minor position in the proposed media company 'Media Norge'.

It was Schibsted's demand for majority control in the new company that made Adresseavisa reject the propsal. Björn Wiggen, Mecom's CEO' has branded it an acquisition rather than a merger and said: "this is an acquisition of the regional papers masterminded by Schibsted". Lars Ander, a Swedish shareholder with a 20pc stake in BT who ensured BT did not reject the merger proposal at this stage, told DN: "One shouldn't forget that Schibsted is damn good at what it does, and has done an amazing job with Svenska Dagbladet and Aftonbladet. And the company gives total editorial freedom, even if Schibsted is a crocodile and a crocodile has a small brain."


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