Ljubljana, 30 November (STA) - Beverage group Pivovarna Lasko published on Tuesday in dailies Delo and The Financial Times a call for non-binding bids for a 100% stake in Delo. The sale of Slovenia's leading newspaper publisher will be conducted in four stages with potential buyers having until 14 December to express interest.
Following the initial stage, those not excluded by Lasko will be able to get an information memorandum by 21 January. This is also the deadline for non-binding bids, which will conclude the second stage.
The bidders considered the most interesting and suitable by the seller will be invited to the next stage.
The third phase will provide potential buyers with insight into a report on Delo's operations, the possibility to request due diligence, a draft sales contract and the chance to meet the company's leadership.
The selected bidders will be notified about the deadline for binding bid.
Non-binding as well as binding bids need to contain the number of shares planned to be purchased, the price per share, payment details, possible conditions and views on development and synergy-related subjects.
Lasko has reserved the right to call off the sale at any stage, change the deadlines and conditions and to sell all or only a part of Delo's shares.
The publication of the call for bids comes after Lasko announced in October it would put the publisher up for sale in late November to keep with its strategic plan to withdraw from the media sector and focus on its core business - the production and sale of beverages.
Pivovarna Lasko and its subsidiaries Radenska and Firma Del own 100% of Delo stock. The company could be seen as having in effect been forced into the sale by banks, which have been pushing it to pay its huge debt.
Delo chairman Jurij Giacomelli has said that "the sale will not influence Delo's operations in any way". "The company is operating in line with the adopted annual business plan and strategy."
Lasko published a takeover bid for Delo in early 2007 after having acquired a significant stake earlier. The takeover bid valued Delo at EUR 90m.
Delo is the leading newspaper firm in the country. It publishes the flagship daily Delo as well as the no. 1 tabloid Slovenske novice, Sunday magazine Nedelo and cultural fortnightly Pogledi.
In 2009 it made a net loss of EUR 11.5m on sales that dropped by a tenth to EUR 53.7m.