CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-Belgium's De Persgroep to buy Mecom Group for 196 mln stg

Mon Jun 30, 2014 5:40am EDT

(Corrects designation in paragraph 4 to chairman, from CEO)

June 30 (Reuters) - European newspaper publisher Mecom Group Plc said it had reached an agreement to sell itself to Belgium-based media group De Persgroep NV for 196 million pounds ($333.5 million).

Mecom shareholders will receive 155 pence per share in cash, representing a premium of 35 percent to the stock's closing price on Friday.

Shares in Mecom rose as much as 34 percent to 153.5 pence in early trading, making them the top percentage gainers on the London Stock Exchange.

"The transaction marks the successful culmination of the strategic refocussing of the Mecom group over the past two years," Mecom Chairman Rory Macnamara said in a statement.

Mecom, which publishes regional newspapers such as De Gelderlander and De Stentor in the Netherlands and Berlingske and BT in Denmark, has been cutting costs to stem a decline in advertising revenue.

The company said in April that Dutch advertising revenue fell 20 percent in the first quarter, while advertising revenue in Denmark fell 38 percent.

De Persgroep said the deal would be funded through a combination of existing cash and a new debt facility provided by BNP Paribas Fortis S.A./N.V.

Rothschild and BNP Paribas advised De Persgroep on the deal, while Gleacher Shacklock and Canaccord Genuity were the advisers to Mecom. ($1 = 0.5877 British Pounds) (Reporting by Aastha Agnihotri in Bangalore; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

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