Czerska 8/10 Street
Numer KRS: 59944
May 13, 2022 / 11:28
In February 2019, Agora acquired a 40% stake in Eurozet, media group operating on radio market. In October 2019, Agora submitted a notification to the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) regarding the intention of concentration consisting in taking over the control of Eurozet by purchasing the remaining 60% of shares in this company from the majority investor, SFS Ventures.
The proceeding in this case lasted almost one and a half years and was one of the longest in the history of UOKiK. In January 2021, President of UOKiK Tomasz Chróstny banned Agora from taking over Eurozet. His decision was based on assumptions and abstract hypotheses, and not on evidence pointing to the realities of the radio market and the economic mechanisms that take place therein. In the opinion of media market experts and concentration economy experts, the arguments of the President of UOKiK were detached from the market situation, and the concentration ban was issued contrary to the law. It was the first ban issued by the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection in 9 years.
On 8 February 2021, Agora appealed against the decision of the President of UOKiK, requesting the Court of Competition and Consumer Protection (SOKiK) to change the decision of the President of UOKiK and consent to the merger of Agora and Eurozet.
On 12 May 2022, the District Court in Warsaw - Court of Competition and Consumer Protection announced a ruling amending in its entirety the decision of the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection of 7 January 2021, prohibiting Agora from taking control over Eurozet Sp. z o.o. The court gave its unconditional consent to take over Eurozet Sp. z o.o. by Agora. This is a unprecedent judgment of SOKIK. For the first time in history, the court accepted the entrepreneur's appeal in its entirety and completely changed the decision of the President of UOKIK in such a way that the decision of the President of UOKIK prohibiting concentration after the change agrees to it. The judgment is not final.
- The verdict discredits the actions of the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection. In the verbal justification the judge indicated that the decision of the President of UOKiK was self - contradictory, based on multi-level speculation and ignored key evidence in the case. In our opinion, this judgment confirms that the ban on the purchase of Eurozet by Agora was a political decision aimed at our company and in line with the activities of the ruling party, which in various ways tries to hinder or limit the activity of free media in Poland. This case, concluded with a landmark judgment, restores the faith of entrepreneurs in the possibility of fair competition on the market - says Bartosz Hojka, President of the Management Board of Agora S.A.
The President of UOKiK announced that he would appeal against the judgment.
Agora S.A. was established in 1989; since 1999 the Company has been listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange. Its biggest undertakings are: Helios S.A. - Poland’s largest cinema network operator, ranked in terms of number of facilities, and the owner of the NEXT FILM distribution and production company, Gazeta Wyborcza - Poland’s most popular opinion–forming newspaper and a leader in the process of digital transformation of Polish press, and AMS - Poland’s leading outdoor advertising company. Agora Group owns three brands of local music radio stations: Radio Złote Przeboje, Radio Pogoda, Rock Radio, in addition to being a majority shareholder in the Radio TOK FM cross–regional radio station. Agora’s web portals are leaders in terms of popularity in their respective categories. Among the Company’s several dozen web–based brands are, i.a., Gazeta.pl, Sport.pl and Tokfm.pl, available online and via mobile applications. The Company is also the publisher of magazines and engages in publishing and distribution of books, music and film publications, as well as operations on the food services market.