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HomeLithuaniaLithuania's competition watchdog launched review into Ekspress Grupp, Lrytas deal

Lithuania’s competition watchdog launched review into Ekspress Grupp, Lrytas deal

Lithuania’s competition watchdog, the Competition Council, is starting its review of the acquisition of Lrytas, a Lithuanian company, by Estonia’s Ekspress Grupp, which operates the Defi news websites in the Baltic states, after Ekspress Grupp submitted all necessary documents, the watchdog said on Monday.

“The authority will examine the information submitted by the parties to the transaction, collect data from other market participants and assess whether the transaction strengthened a dominant position or restricted competition in the relevant markets,” it said.

The Competition Council received the compliant notification of the merger following the acquisition of Lrytas by Ekspress Grupp on May 15.

In December, 2023, the authority found that Ekspress Grupp violated the Law on Competition by acquiring Lrytas, which operates the lrytas.lt news website, without notifying the authority and without obtaining its permission. The Estonian company was fined 140,000 euros and ordered to bring the infringement to an end within 2 months or to restore the previous situation or remedy the consequences of the infringement.

Ekspress Grupp appealed to a court and asked for a temporary suspension of the order. However, the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania rejected the company’s request in February.

It was announced In February that the Competition Council had postponed the deadline for Ekspress Grupp to submit the notification of the transaction until March 22. A spokeswoman for the competition authority told BNS at the time that Ekspress Grupp did not miss the deadline for submitting the notification, but it needed revising and was therefore only accepted in May.

Ekspress Grupp acquired Lrytas from Lietuvos Rytas in December 2022.

Big Group, owned by Ben Gudelis, owned 36 percent of Lietuvos Rytas, 26.5 percent belong to Gedvydas Vainauskas, 13.2 percent belong to Vidmantas Strimaitis, and the rest is owned by minority shareholders.

Source: BNS

(Reproduction of BNS information in mass media and other websites without written consent of BNS is prohibited.)

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