Ljubljana, 24 February (STA) - Beverage group Pivovarna Lasko has received only three non-binding bids for Delo, the country's leading newspaper publisher which the troubled Lasko is selling to pay its debts. The bidders are said to be willing to pay from EUR 9m to EUR 15m for the 100% stake.
Lasko did not wish to comment on the news, but unofficial information shows that the interest has been expressed by Bonnier, the Swedish media corporation which publishes the Slovenian business daily Finance; Swiss publisher Ringier; and a consortium of three foreign citizens.
Lasko published a call for non-binding bids in late November after announcing the sale of Delo in October, citing a withdrawal from the media sector and focus on the production and sale of beverages as the reason.
Delo is owned by Lasko and its subsidiaries Radenska and Firma Del, with Lasko considered to be in effect forced into the sale by banks, which have been pushing it to pay its huge debt.
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.
The deadline for non-binding bids expired on 21 January, whereupon Lasko would invite the most interesting bidders to the next stage and provide them with insight into Delo's operations.
However, 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.