Top execs suspended at Telegraaf Media Group as buyout fight continues

De Telegraaf in Amsterdam
De Telegraaf in Amsterdam on Sept. 13, 2008IlonamayWikimedia CommonsCC-BY-SA

The battle for taking over the Telegraaf Media Group escalated on Sunday. Commissioners on the TMG supervisory board suspended the group's CEO Geert-Jan van der Snoek and CFO Leo Epskamp with immediate effect due to a breach of trust, they announced in a statement on Sunday evening, the Volkskrant reports.

The commissioners also announced a final agreement with a new, slightly higher bid made by Flemish Mediahuis and VP - the investment company of the Van Puijenbroek family. 

On Sunday Mediahuis and VP upped their offer to 6.00 euros per TMG share. In response, rival John de Mol and his company Talpa also upped their offer to 6.50 euros per share. 

The TMG commissioners call the suspension of the two top execs unavoidable. According to the statement the commissioners released, the two board members were "not sufficiently constructive and realistic" in the final stage of negotiations with Mediahuis and VP. The commissioners stated that this created the risk that the Belgian company would make a unilateral bid, without the previously agreed upon guarantees for TMG. "The Supervisory Board considered it irresponsible and unacceptable", Jan Nootgedagt, the deputy chairman of the supervisory board, said on Sunday. 

With the suspension of the two TMG executives, it seems that the media group will end up with Mediahuis and VP. But according to the Volkskrant, this is not yet a done deal. The two execs can challenge their suspension in court. John de Mol also seems aimed at a lawsuit, because he feels that his company did not get a fair chance, despite his higher bid.