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Adevarul Holding to change hands; Dinu Patriciu leaves the building, Cristi Burci takes over



Adevarul Holding, Romanian media trust that faced a lot of problems during couple months, is to change owners, with Dinu Patriciu and Cristi Burci reaching to an agreement related to the sale of the company.

Dinu Patriciu - which bought Adevarul newspaper 6 years ago from Ana Maria Tinu (daughter of newspaper’s founder, Dumitru Tinu) and build a media holding around it - decided, this way, to make an exit from the business.

The negotiations were tough and intense, with the last round spanning on over 20 hours, during which Cristi Burci, Dinu Patriciu, Petre Imre (General Manager Adevarul Holding) and the lawyers negotiated in detail. At the end, the parts involved agreed and sign a head of terms, with all the paperwork related to the sale to be done in 10 days, when the deal will be officially signed.

When it came of negotiations, each of involved parts had their interests.

  • Dinu Patriciu wants out from Adevarul Holding, as groups debts reach to millions of Euros and there were already taken juridic actions against it.
  • Cristi Burci wants to come back in the media industry, after, in the past, he put his mark on Prima TV and Kiss FM. He attempted enter again the media industry last year, with Realitatea TV, but another businessman won that fight.
  • Peter Imre, a manager with not such a good image among employees, keeps his position in managing the trust

Because Adevarul Holding has a lot of debt, creditors keep pushing, distrain actions were taken, titles’ circulation is going down and salaries are either late or unpaid, the advance in negotiations was difficult. But all those things also represent an important lever for a potential buyer.

Cristi Burci: We signed a Head of Terms, initial point of a transaction; Adevarul – an extraordinary platform, past problems will be solved

Cristi Burci gave an exclusive interview to just couple minutes after the parts reached to an agreement that will help making all the legal paperwork needed for the official takeover, scheduled to take place in 10 days.

Burci said that the agreement was reached after 20 hours of negotiations, a week after the discussions with Dinu Patriciu started. With the takeover agreed upon and official signing scheduled to take place in 10 days, one thing is known: Petre Imre will continue to be General Manager Adevarul Holding.

Cristi Burci explained that he decided to buy Adevarul Holding as he is looking for an opportunity in media for quite a while.

“Adevarul is an extraordinary platform. I think Adevarul Holding is a content factory that can represent a fantastic foundation for all it means digital content, photo, video and so on. I think we have the biggest content factory in Romania that can reach to all screens: computer, tablet, iPad, TV”, Burci said.

Related to group’s debts, Cristi Burci said the debts will be recounted, the payments will be spread out and paid and salaries will be paid in the next period. He also mentioned that any amounts to be paid until the official transaction is made will go to operational costs, salaries, paper and so on.

Although it’s likely to become public, at least as speculation, the value of the transaction is kept under wraps for the moment, with Cristi Burci not commenting on aspects related to the amount or to what Dinu Patriciu will get or not following the takeover.

As Adevarul Holding also has a TV licence, Burci admitted he intends to start a TV station also, but after an evaluation process that will cover all that happens within the company he signed to buy.

Adevarul will remain headquartered in Pipera for the moment temporarily, but the entire company and everything related to it will go under evaluation and a restructuring process.

“At the moment, we’re looking for the best costs formula. Practically, to restructure the company, we have to be extremely attentive to both spending and income, but also to products. Controlling cost will most likely be one of the major objectives of restructuring process”, Burci said.
He also mentioned it is too early to say if some titles would be moved exclusively online – evaluation is needed first – but clearly said that Adevarul’s printing houses “will have to become a center of profit, because they have both potential and quality”.

Cristi Burci estimated that Adevarul will be capable of reaching break-even in the next 6 months and that it will manage to pay its historical debts in a longer period of time, spanning from 1 to 3 years.

Autor: Petrişor Obae

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