Council of the Commission for Protection of Competition (hereinafter:Commission) issued on March 25, 2015, two decisions in procedure initiated ex officio against company East Media Group from Moscow, Russian Federation (hereinafter:East Media), because of the reasonable assumption that when purchasing the share of 50% in the company ”Politika Newspapers and Magazines” from Beograd, a concentration was implemented, which did not obtain approval from the Commission in accordance with the provisions of the Law on Protection of Competition.

Decision of the Commission determined procedural penalties to company East Media due to its failure to act according to the resolution of the Commission of January 29, 2015, by which it was ordered to deliver data and documents for the purpose of procedure. The level of procedural penalty amounts to a total of 143.500,00 euros, which currently stands at around 17.286,000 dinars and this amount is to be paid to the budget of the Republic of Serbia. With this resolution, the Commission makes it clear to all market participants that the non-fulfillment of obligations prescribed by the Law for delivery of data necessary for the proper determination of factual situation, will be sanctioned according to the Law.

With other instrument, Commission’s resolution, the procedure against company East Media was suspended, due to the need for previous legal issue in this case to be resolved.
Underlying issue that has to be decided, is whether the contract of share between previous owner of share in company ”Politika Newspapers and Magazines”, company Ost Holding GmbH from Vienna, Republic of Austria – affiliated legal entity of German Media Group Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung Mediengruppe (WAZ) and company East Media, is valid. Based on the collected material evidence and witness statements, the Commission noted that the established facts reasonably indicate the possibility that, when selling share of 50% in the company ”Politika Newspapers and Magazines”, company Ost Holding GmbH did not act in accordance with the obligations stipulated by the Corporate Charter of the company ”Politika Newspapers and Magazines. Namely, collected evidence and witness statements point to a reasonable assumption that the offer for the purchase of share (pre-emption right), was not delivered to other member of the company, which is majority owned by the Republic of Serbia, in the manner and under conditions provided by the company’s by-laws. Given the potential harm to the property rights and interests of the Republic of Serbia, the Commission, bearing in mind the importance of this issue, decided to refer the matter to the State Attorney’s Office, in order to examin the validity of the agreement and decide on the possible initiation of dispute.

Given the importance and complexity of this case, Commision continues active cooperation with the competent authorities in the Republic of Serbia and abroad.