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Merger of publishers Dnevnik and Večer reportedly cleared

Ljubljana/Maribor, 29 July (STA) - The Competition Protection Agency (AVK) has reportedly given a nod to the merger of Dnevnik and Večer, the publishers of the second and third largest daily newspapers in the country respectively.

The joint company will have a 40% share on the printed media market, which is believed to have been the reason why the deliberations of the AVK on the case took a whole year, Radio Slovenija reported on Monday. The approval of the Culture Ministry was already issued last December.

Maribor-based Večer, controlled by the no. 1 publisher Delo until 2014 when it was sold to entrepreneurs Uroš Hakl and Sašo Todorovič due to anti-trust concerns, has a circulation of about 19,000, while Dnevnik, owned by Bojan Petan of publisher DZS, one of 21,000.

According to some estimates, labour cost rationalisation alone will save the companies EUR 2 million. The two papers each generated around EUR 1.5 million in net profit last year.

Večer and Dnevnik are meant to continue being published as separate papers. Forces are expected to be joined when it comes to covering foreign and internal affairs as well as sport, while regional topics are to be covered separately.

Večer has traditionally had a strong subscriber base in the north-east of the country, while Dnevnik is perceived more as a central Slovenian or Ljubljana-based paper.

At least partial mergers are also expected for the subscriptions, marketing and administration department.

More about the plans and expected lay-offs will be clear once the owners comment on the AVK's decision, which has not yet been published officially.

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