Romanian film and ad producer in talks to buy local news portal Hotnews.ro
One of Romania's leading film, series, and ad producers has made an offer to buy Hotnews.ro, one of the biggest local news portals, writes Libertatea.
"I have been trying to sell HotNews for several years," says founder Ioan Mărgărit. "Yes, I am discussing an offer, but I have gotten even further with other companies in the past, and those deals were not finalized."
The offer in question was supposedly made by Dragoș Vîlcu, owner of Multi Media Est, a successful Romanian video production company, and editor of several online publications, including Panorama and B365. Vîlcu also helped with the launch of Recorder, providing necessary resources.
According to Libertatea, the negotiations for the sale of HotNews to Multi Media Est have been going on for several months and have reached an advanced stage. "The amount exceeds EUR 2 million," a person familiar with the negotiations told the newspaper.
However, while Ioan Mărgărit, the founder and leader of HotNews, confirms the existence of these negotiations, he has not specified an amount for which his company would be sold, nor has he named the interested party.
"We have received several offers over the years. We were in negotiations last year and two years ago, maybe we will be again next year. Nothing is finalized. We've been in negotiations for a long time with various companies that want to become shareholders in one way or another. I've wanted to sell for the last 10 years," says Mărgărit.
Asked if he is negotiating the sale of HotNews to the company owned by Dragoș Vîlcu, Mărgărit replied: "I don't have an exclusive contract with anyone (...) we do have a confidentiality clause with everyone, even if we don't have an exclusivity clause."
Dragoș Vîlcu declined to comment, telling Libertatea to "contact Răzvan Ionescu, he is in charge of media". Răzvan Ionescu also declined to comment on the subject.
HotNews was founded in 1999 by journalists Ioan Mărgărit and Manuela Preoteasa, writes Libertatea. According to termene.ro, the two have the largest stake in Media Bit Software, which owns the online publication: Ioan Mărgărit has 36.98%, Manuela Preoteasa has 31.48%, Andrei Woinarowski has 17.99%, Răzvan Cornețeanu has 9.04% and Tereza Sălișteanu has 4.50%.
In 2018, Hotnews.ro lost the heads of its editorial team, Dan Tapalaga and Cristian Pantazi, who left to launch a new online publication, G4Media.ro. Still, it has managed to rebuild its newsroom and remains one of the biggest online news portals in Romania, with over 4.1 million unique visitors in July 2022, according to official data from BRAT/SATI.
In 2021, Media Bit Software reported a profit of RON 2.2 million (EUR 449,000) with a turnover of RON 7 million (EUR 1.43 mln), according to the Finance Ministry's website.
While Multi Media Est was founded by Dragoș Vîlcu in the early 1990s, and quickly became one of the strongest and most 'well-oiled' production companies, first in the ad world, and later in film as well. In 2021, Multi Media Est had a profit of RON 2 million on a turnover of RON 26.5 million (EUR 5.4 mln), according to data reported to the Ministry of Finance.