VILNIUS - Rautakirja, a member of Finland's SanomaWSOY Group, bought a 100 percent stake in Lietuvos Spauda (Lithuanian Press), the leading kiosk chain in the country, on May 31.
"We signed the agreement today and will be waiting for the Competition Council's decision now," Vidas Ksanas, chairman of Lithuanian Press, told the Baltic News Service.
Ksanas has not yet disclosed the value of the deal.
In a public statement, Rautakirja expressed confidence that the deal would help the group further strengthen its position in the Baltic region.
"This acquisition brings our long-term Baltic strategy to a well-crafted conclusion. The Lithuanian Press chain is in good financial shape and is operating under an efficient chain-management concept," said Rautakirja CEO Erkki Jarvinen.
After the acquisition is completed, Ksanas will continue as CEO of Lithuanian Press.
The Finns bought the shares in Lithuanian Press from six private persons.
In Lithuania, Rautakirja also controls Impress Teva, a press distribution company, the cinemas Vingio Kino Teatras, Coca-Cola Plaza and Forum Cinema Akropolis, and V&K Holding, a video distribution company.
In addition to operating in the Baltic countries, Rautakirja also has chains in the Czech Republic and Romania. During the first quarter of 2005, some 15 percent of Rautakirja's net sales came from non-domestic operation.
Lithuanian Press has a chain of approximately 600 kiosks across Lithuania and employs around 1,300 people. It has subsidiary companies in Utena, Kaunas, Klaipeda, Alytus, Panevezys, Siauliai and Mazeikiai. The company posted sales of 187 million litas (54.2 million euros) in 2004, a rise of 16.1 percent from 2003.
The chain's kiosks sell newspapers, magazines, public transportation tickets, tobacco products, refreshments, ice-cream and other items.