The more than six-month insolvency proceedings of the Mladá fronta publishing house are over. During Wednesday’s online auction, two bidders competed for the media house. In the end, PP Partners’ entrepreneur Andrej Čírtek came out of the fight better, overpaying the bids of Aleš Zavoral’s A11 publishing house with an amount of over 50 million crowns. Both entrepreneurs confirmed their participation in the auction exclusively for INFO.CZ.
The six-month painful insolvency proceedings that struck the Mladá fronta publishing house for 75 years of its existence are almost over. In the online auction, the result of which must be confirmed by the České Budějovice court on Thursday, the PR company of PP Partners Andrej Čírtek won.
It was clear shortly after the start of the anonymous auction that Mladá fronta would be sold, when for the first time, “User 15 331” happened above the starting price of 36.5 million crowns. Under this alias, Andrej Čírtek was bidding for PP Partners. “I confirm that the company PP Partners Prague submitted the highest bid in today’s auction for the sale of the running company of the debtor Mladá fronta within the insolvency proceedings,” the businessman told INFO.CZ. “With today’s participation in the auction and the submission of the winning bid, PPP has proven that it has a serious business plan with the Ministry of Finance. The Czechoslovak Group’s owner Michal Strnad was initially also interested in the Mladá fronta, but in the end, he did not participate in the auction.
A few hours after the first bid was another candidate – publishing A11 entrepreneurs Ales Zavoral (not the founder of the e-shop Alza). “Yes, I indeed participated in the auction,” Zavoral said when asked INFO.CZ. Both entrepreneurs hour before the auction began to drag. Finally, after nine bids, the amount of 50.1 million crowns won Andrej Cirtek. If the České Budějovice court confirms it as the winner tomorrow, it will become the publishing house’s new owner.
In such a case, the publishing house’s final price would exceed the starting offer by only less than 14 million crowns, insolvency administrator Petra Hýsková said in an earlier interview with INFO.CZ that from her point of view, the successful price was approximately double. However, Andrej Čírtek stated that he considers the current 50.1 million crowns to be the maximum possible. “Given the mood in the media and publishing market, which we checked before we participated in the auction, and given the hard fact, what was the real (in the) interest of the market in today’s auction, we believe that better yield for MF creditors is excluded,” he explains, stating that in the event of further prolongation of insolvency, he will not participate in any additional auction.
The Mladá fronta publishing house itself does not want to comment on the result of the auction until Thursday’s court decision. “We are especially pleased that the auction was a success, but we will refrain from commenting until the court decides,” Pavlína Míčová, his head of communication, responded on behalf of the publishing house. In an interview with INFO.CZ from last week, the CEO of Mladá fronta, Karel Novotný, stated that “any sale at a reasonable price” would be a success for him.
The flagship of the Mladá fronta publishing house is the influential weekly Euro and related websites and specials. The lucrative part is also the book division with an annual production of about 250 titles or the profitable children’s magazines Puntík or Tečka. Also, the publishing house publishes motoring, hobby, and medical magazines.
In an interview with INFO.CZ, Karel Novotný, did not rule out that the Young Front could split up after the auction. “The young front consists of two main parts – a magazine and book publishing. I have specific signals from those interested that it always costs more than just one of them from the market. So the auction may turn out accordingly – for example, that the new owner will resell part of the activities, or that the two new owners will operate the Young Front as a joint venture. “