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Reporter Says Publisher Delo Getting New Owner in January

Ljubljana, 28 December (STA) - Weekly Reporter reports on Monday that the publisher of Slovenia's leading newspaper might change hands as soon as January. According to Reporter's sources, Delo will be bought by financial firm KB1909, the majority owner of left-leaning weekly Mladina. Delo's biggest owner Pivovarna Lasko has already denied it is selling the company.

According to the right-leaning weekly, newspaper publisher Delo would be sold under the table for only a fraction of its real value, allegedly for EUR 40m, while it was estimated at EUR 120m before the crisis.

KB1909 boss Boris Peric told Reporter he would not comment on its report because it was inconsequential. The Gorizia-based financial holding is owned by several hundred members of the Slovenian minority in Italy.

Reporter also says that KB1909 had political ties with the leader of coalition party Zares Gregor Golobic.

It goes on to say that Delo's future owners met Delo CEO Jurij Giacomelli on 18 December, which in turn was rebuffed by Giacomelli.

Giacomelli suspects that the rumours could result from the fact that he used to sit on Mladina's supervisory board until recently.

Meanwhile, Pivovarna Lasko CEO Dusan Zorko told STA that nobody talked to him about the alleged sale of Delo.

According to Zorko, alongside Pivovarna Lasko, the daily is owned by beverage maker Radenska and company Firma Del - which are both owned by Lasko.

Immediately after Zorko was appointed CEO of Pivovarna Lasko in July, he said the troubled conglomerate would sell its stakes that are not relevant to their core business, including dailies Delo and Vecer.

KB1909 entered the Slovenian media market in late 2007 when it acquired 39.8% of left-leaning publisher Mladina through its subsidiary Transmedia.

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