1 September 2023

Mafra Publishing House is likely to be bought by Karel Pražák

According to the daily E15, the Mafra publishing house will be taken over by Karel Pražák. The transaction will also involve the chemical company Synthesia, with an expected price in the billions of crowns.


According to E15, Agrofert's board of directors considered two takeover bids. One came from the Czechoslovak Group (CSG), led by arms manufacturer Michal Strnad, and the other from Kaprain Holding of Karel Pražák, a billionaire and former PPF manager. The acquisition goes beyond Mafra's media assets and includes the Pardubice-based chemical company Synthesia. Synthesia is a major European producer of nitrocellulose, a key ingredient in the production of munitions, and had a net profit of CZK 183m last year.

Mafra, which employs approximately 1 200 people, has been struggling with financial problems for some time. In 2021, it managed to reduce its loss from CZK 868m to CZK 113m and last year, with sales of around CZK 3bn, it made a loss of CZK 85m. The company's publications reach 3.24 million readers and 7.4 million internet visitors. The company publishes Mladá fronta DNES, Hospodářské noviny in Slovakia and many other titles, including Lidové noviny, the oldest Czech daily. Mafra has also incorporated Bauer Media's magazine portfolio under its brand and operates the Óčko television station and Rádio Impuls.

Karel Pražák's entry into the Mafra race is relatively fresh. He gained experience in the business sphere alongside Petr Kellner as a crisis manager and has been working with PPF for a long time. Pražák's Kaprain business empire focuses primarily on investments in the industrial, real estate, telecommunications and entertainment sectors.