Estonia's Up Invest buys Latvian LETA news agency

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Margus Linnamäe
Margus Linnamäe Photo: Margus Ansu

The Estonian company UP Invest, owned by Estonian pharmaceuticals businessman Margus Linnamae bought Latvia's biggest news agency LETA.

«UP Invest has a long-term view regarding the Baltic media market. This transaction is an important step in the strategy,» member of the management board of UP Invest Sven Nuutmann said. UP Invest is also the owner of BNS Group. Both the trademarks of BNS and LETA would still be in use in Latvia.

The current LETA services in Latvia will remain available and LETA will remain separate from other Latvian media enterprises connected with UP Invest. Investments and a steadier position will help to continue with developing services aimed at professional news and information consumers in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

«It is great that LETA got an investor with an international grasp who will guarantee long-term investments into news and media monitoring services,» head of LETA Una Klapkalne said.

«In the 18 years since the privatization of LETA and the new beginning of the agency, we have succeeded in restoring the historical status of LETA and turning it into a company offering professional information services to the Latvian media, government institutions and leading companies,» chairman of the management board of LETA Martins Barkans said. «We see that UP Invest is a trustworthy and steady investor with a long-term strategy in the media sector and we are certain that the successful development of LETA will continue,» he added.

LETA's current owners will continue business operations in Latvia, including in the media sector, by publishing Kapitals magazine and organizing seminars and conferences under the BIG EVENT trademark.

The parties have agreed not to disclose the price of the transaction. The deal has to be approved by the Latvian competition authority.

LETA was founded in 1992 but the history of the news agency started already in 1919. In 2014 the company had 158 employees, its turnover was 3.1 million euros and net profit 9,714 euros.

UP Investment is an investment company owned by Margus Linnamae. It has directed money into media, the IT and technology field as well as retail and wholesale and healthcare. UP Invest also owns the new agency Baltic News Service and the majority holding in Eesti Meedia, owner of the Estonian daily Postimees.