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Business

British-US Investors Buy Berlin Publisher

The ink has dried on the sales contract for a takeover deal of the "Berliner Zeitung." A consortium headed by the British media mogul David Montgomery is the buyer and many fear for their jobs.

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The Berliner Zeitung has a new owner -- from abroad

The publishing house of the Berliner Zeitung has changed hands after a long struggle by various companies to take over the newspaper.

A consortium of the investment group Mecom, led by British media mogul David Montgomery, and the media investment bank Veronis Suhler Stevenson (VSS) paid a reported 100 million British pounds (147.6 mill. euros) for the publisher, the first time that foreign investors have purchased a German newspaper. Montgomery, is considered to be a hard cost-cutter who likes to implement belt-tightening measures, including big job cuts.

"We will be proud custodians of the titles within Berliner Verlag, committed to the highest journalistic standards, editorial integrity and good management," Montgomery said in a statement and who will head the board of supervisors.

Uwe Vorkötter, editor of the Berliner Zeitung, had written in an op-ed piece in the newspaper expressing his opposition to the purchase. He told the English paper The Independent that he had received no reassurances from Montgomery that there would be no large job cutting measures.

Editors and employees of the newspaper fear that in light of the current "locust" debate surrounding the purchasing of German companies simply for the sake of making a quick profit by investment groups that the publishing house will soon be sold. The trade union ver.di is demanding a guarantee for the 750 employees at the publishing house.

The Stuttgart-based Holzbrinck publishing house was forced to sell the publisher it purchased in 2002 after a decision by the federal cartel office.

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