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Photo: Yariv Katz
Nohi Dankner
Photo: Yariv Katz
Maariv braces for recovery plan
Struggling daily's board of directors approves NIS 15 million cash infusion; orders major changes in newspaper's publication

The board of directors of veteran Israeli daily Maariv approved a NIS 15 million ($3.7 million) bailout plan for the struggling publication, Ynet learned Friday.

 

Maariv, which is controlled by Nohi Dankner's IDB Group, has been facing dire financial straits for years. The newspaper noted an unprecedented NIS 244 million ($60.6 million) loss in Q2-2012, prompting Dankner to seek outside investors.

 

The loss sparked concerns that the newspaper, which has been a staple of the Israeli media since 1948, may have no choice but to close its doors.

 

Maariv's board of directors convened an emergency meeting on Thursday night and eventually approved the emergency bailout, while also ordering a series of extreme measures meant to save the newspaper.

 

As part of the radical changes being reviewed it is possible Maariv will cease to appear in print every day, in a bid to defer more resources to its online version, "NRG." The traditional print version of the weekend paper will appear as usual.

 

The board also ordered the liquidation of Maariv's printing house in Bat Yam. The sale is expected to yield some NIS 200 million (about $49 million).

 

Hagai Matar, head of the Maariv workers' union was quoted by several media outlasts as saying: "This is a very hard time. I'm glad to learn that Maariv, and the thousands of families whose livelihood depends on it, has been given another chance to prove how important and relevant it is to Israel's democracy.

 

"We have a long road ahead of us," he added. "Israel's media is experiencing an unprecedented crisis, which is jeopardizing the livelihood of 30,000 people and is detrimental to journalism, not to mention the freedom of expression in Israel."

 

Nir Zalik, Calcalist, contributed to this report

 

 

 

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