Poland May Block Soros Group From Buying Big Radio Station

(Bloomberg) -- Poland’s government signaled it would try to prevent a takeover of the country’s second-largest radio station by a group that includes billionaire financier George Soros.

Soros has teamed up with publisher Agora SA to place a bid for Radio Zet. They are vying against Fratria, a publisher of a pro-government weekly Sieci, as well as PMPG Polskie Media SA and Polish businessman Zbigniew Jakubas, according to Wirtualnemedia.pl portal.

The billionaire is targeted by many nationalists around the region. In Hungary, the anti-Soros campaign culminated in the ousting from Budapest of Central European University, founded by the Hungarian-born billionaire.

“The state should do everything to stop market speculators from increasing their influence on the media market,” ruling Law & Justice party spokeswoman Beata Mazurek said on Twitter on Monday.

But hours later, Deputy Culture Minister Pawel Lewandowski told wPolsce.pl television that the government has no legal tools other than usual anti-monopoly guidelines rules to scrutinize deals.

“The problem is how to measure concentration on the media market with multiple platforms and how to measure concentration on the market of ideas, we don’t have tools for that,” he said. “I’d like to have legal grounds to do it.”

In Poland, Law & Justice has repeatedly urged a “re-Polonization” of its foreign-owned media. After an international pushback, the government shelved plans that could force some foreign media owners out by imposing rules limiting ownership on groups whose cross-platform holdings and market share are deemed “dominant.”

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