New York, 22 April, 2021: Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF) has purchased a 34% minority stake in leading Slovak publisher Petit Press from Namav s.r.o, a subsidiary of Penta Investments Limited. As part of the transaction, the company’s managers Alexej Fulmek and Peter Mačinga and the former owner of Azet and the aktuality.sk news portal Marek Václavík have purchased Penta’s remaining 5.5% shareholding. Prvá slovenská investičná spoločnosť (PSIS) retains its majority share.
Petit Press is the second-largest publisher in Slovakia with a wide portfolio of printed and digital products. It publishes more than 35 regional titles with a weekly circulation of more than 545,000 copies in Slovak and English. Its portfolio includes SME and Korzár dailies. Petit Press also operates the www.sme.sk news portal, which has more than 2.6 million unique visitors per month and more than 56,000 digital subscribers, and operates the most modern printing press in the region.
“Investing in Petit Press is an amazing and exciting opportunity,” said Harlan Mandel, CEO of MDIF. “It is an expression of our faith in the strength of its newspaper brands and especially in the stability of the SME daily. We believe that the position of Petit Press as a leader in the field of digital news in Slovakia can be further developed because the company continues to build its business based on the values of quality journalism. We look forward to working with all current shareholders, including the majority shareholder PSIS, who has been a tireless supporter of the editorial quality of Petit Press since the beginning.”
Alexej Fulmek, CEO of Petit Press, considers the current change in the shareholding structure an important development. “In 28 years, we have had several different minority shareholders in the publishing house. Over time, we have always managed to adjust the shareholding with PSIS. We have also achieved this now, following long and difficult negotiations with Penta. I am very happy the new shareholder of our company is MDIF because I have been following their work for over 20 years. The main goal of MDIF has always been defending the independence and freedom of media,” Fulmek emphasized.
MDIF is a not-for-profit investment fund for independent media active in countries where access to independent media is under threat. It provides loan and equity financing to media companies that play an important role in maintaining freedom of speech in their home countries. It is funded by a wide range of foundations and investors, and since its inception has supported independent media in 44 countries. MDIF’s first ever loan was to Petit Press in 1996.
The outgoing shareholder stated that in recent years, Penta had a different view on further strategy and development from that of the publishing house’s management and majority shareholder. “Given that we received an attractive offer, we agreed to sell our minority stake. Our work at Petit Press was a valuable experience for us, primarily in terms of digital subscriptions, which we began to develop intensively, especially in our Czech publishing house Vltava Labe Media,” said Marián Slivovič, partner at Penta Investments.
Petit Press can still rely on the majority owner, PSIS, which has partnered with the publishing house since its foundation in 1993: “We have maintained editorial independence at all times and under all circumstances. Our main goal was and is for the publishing house to be on the side of the public interest and contribute to the development of democracy as well as to strengthen the position of the rule of law in the consciousness of citizens. I am convinced that, in the end, only in this way will we achieve a rise in citizens’ living standards. We are ready to cooperate with the new shareholders and we believe that the new shareholder structure will guarantee the fulfillment of the declared goals as well as contribute to the dynamic development of the publishing house,” said Vladimír Rajčák, Chairman of the Board of PSIS.
About Media Development Investment Fund
Media Development Investment Fund is a not-for-profit investment fund based in New York, United States. It provides debt and equity financing supported by technical assistance to independent media companies in countries where access to free and independent media is under threat. With more than $122 million assets under management, since 1996 MDIF has invested almost $250 million in 128 independent media businesses in 44 countries. Its investments help independent media around the world provide the news, information and debate that people need to build free, thriving societies.
About Petit Press
Petit Press publishing house is the second-largest publisher in Slovakia with a wide portfolio of printed and digital products. It publishes more than 35 regional and Slovak titles with a weekly circulation of more than 545,000 copies in Slovak and English. Its portfolio includes SME and Korzár dailies, weekly magazines TV Svet and Slovak Spectator, the network of regional weekly magazines MY, the network of free mailbox newspapers ECHO, monthly magazines Index, We Are Women, Historical Review, Lišiak, At Home in the Garden, Health Magazine, Cultural Life, and Magazine about Books. Petit Press also operates the www.sme.sk news portal, which has more than 2.6 million unique visitors per month and more than 56,000 digital subscribers. At the same time, it owns the most modern printing press in the region, Wifag, installed in 2010, and also operates in the field of print distribution. Petit Press employs more than 500 people.
For more information contact Peter Whitehead, MDIF Director of Communications, firstname.lastname@example.org