A Polish court ruled on Monday, April 12, that antitrust approval for State-owned refiner PKN Orlen’s takeover of newspaper publisher Polska Press should be suspended, announced the office of the Polish human rights ombudsman, which brought the appeal.
The planned takeover has been criticized by opposition political parties, which have claimed it was part of a wider effort by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party to take more control over the media. PKN Orlen has stated the deal is purely a business transaction.
Ombudsman Adam Bodnar, a vocal critic of PiS, had appealed to the Court of Competition and Consumer Protection in February over the approval of the deal by antitrust regulator UOKiK.
“The Ombudsman for Human Rights filed a motion – directly to the court – to suspend the execution of the decision … It was this application that was accepted by the court,” Bodnar’s office said in a statement.
PKN Orlen chief executive Daniel Obajtek said the company had not received any information from the court about the decision.
“I am amazed that it was Adam Bodnar who announced the alleged court order … We would be surprised if the court decided to make such a decision without having all the documents,” he wrote on Twitter.
When approving the deal, UOKiK had stated that it would not affect competition in the press publishing market in Poland.
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