VILNIUS - The Competition Council has allowed Finland's Rautakirja to acquire Lietuvos Spauda (Lithuanian Press), the country's number one kiosk chain, though with the caveat that the company's periodical distribution and marketing activities be separated and run by independent subsidiaries.
Subsidiary companies of Lithuanian Press will take over the kiosk trade, while the distribution of periodicals is be transferred to Impress Teva, a press distributor under Rautakirja's control.
What's more, Rautakirja will be obligated to apply a system of commissions that will be nondiscriminatory, transparent and equal for all publishers and based on the criteria set out in the decision of the competition panel.
The competition watchdog has obliged Rautakirja to refrain from any exclusive press distribution terms to be included into the contracts with retailers and publishers.
Pursuant to the council's decision, Impress Teva's distribution chain must also be nondiscriminatory and open for all publishers irrespective of their size and scale of business.
The panel adopted its decision considering the opinion of leading daily publishers, including Lietuvos Rytas, Respublika, Verslo Zinios and Lietuvos Zinios, as well as several regional publishers and the Confederation of Lithuania's Business Employers.
Rautakirja, a member of the SanomaWSOY Group, announced the purchase of 100 percent stake in Lithuanian Press in late May. The Finns bought the shares in from several individuals.
In Lithuania, Rautakirja also controls Impress Teva, a press distribution company, the Vingio Kino Teatras, which operates the Coca-Cola Plaza and Forum Cinema Akropolis, and V&K Holding, a video distribution company.
Lithuanian Press has a chain of about 600 kiosks across the country and employs around 1,200 people.