The Borba Printing Company, a majority state-owned company that is itself the majority owner of company Novosti, a media company that publishes – among other publications – popular daily newspaper Večernje novosti, has adopted a decision approving a contract for the sale of Novosti to company Media 026 for a price of around €2.5 million.
The purchasing company was only founded a year ago, has no employees and ended last year with a loss. The owner of Media 026 is Boban Rajić, a little known 35-year-old businessman from the Smederevo area who has not previously been involved in the media business.
Rajić said that he decided to buy the publisher due to the potential of the Novosti Company to “improve, after many years of operating at a loss, with a good business plan”.
In the meantime, the media have discovered that Rajić is also the owner of an exclusive building on Belgrade’s ultra-prestigious Knez Mihailova Street, and that the registration of Media 026 was filed by lawyer Igor Isailović, who is also known as the lawyer of controversial Finance Minister Siniša Mali. Isailović was also a business partner of Prime Minister Ana Brnabić and collaborates with well-known Kosovo-based businessman Zvonko Veselinović.
While no obstacle exists to the sale of Company Novosti from the perspective of the Ministry of Culture and Information, critics raise a number of questions – from where the sale was advertised and why the sale price was so low, to whether there were other offers, or if this little-known businessman is the real owner, with reminders that two national television companies – Prva and O2 – recently ended up in the hands of the brother of an official of the ruling Serbian Progressive Party.
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