In summer 2015, the investment holding company UP Invest OÜ, which then owned the news agency group Baltic News Service (BNS), acquired Latvia’s largest news agency LETA. The Competition Council decided to allow MM Grupp OÜ through the holding company UP Invest OÜ to acquire a decisive influence over SIA LETA because it had concluded no harm to competition would result from the transaction. That is, MM Grupp OÜ sold BNS in order to remove any barriers from acquiring LETA, On 31 August 2015 the companies SIA, BNS-Latvija and SIA Mediju Monitorings were sold to a different Estonian company AMP Investeeringud OÜ and thus the merger parties are no longer competitors in the news agency market.
Similarly, the Competition Council concluded that the Internet pay_news portal owned by SIA LETA does not create significant competition pressure on free Internet news portals Tvnet.lv, Apollo.lv, Financenet.lv, Sejas.lv and Spoki.lv, which are owned by MM Grupp OÜ. Although formally each agency has a different owner, the media sector is worried that this is only a temporary phase and that after some time there will be only one news agency operating in Latvia’s small market. In the year during which the transaction took place, the BNS editorial office was reduced by half. Although the reduction in the number of news agencies could potentially influence the diversity of content, the most important role in preserving diversity will still be played by the media themselves. At the beginning of 2017 both brands – BNS and LETA – exist in Latvia.
The LETA information agency was founded in 1992 although it dates back to the first period of Latvian independence. The Latopress company was established in 1919 and later became LETA. During the Soviet era, the agency operated under the names LTA and then Latinform. In 1990, it regained its historical name of LETA. LETA also has an archive dating back to 1993 and runs the Nozare.lv business portal. The business magazine Kapitāls is also linked to the agency.
The regional BNS news agency has an archive dating back to 1992 and is the largest pan-Baltic news agency, with offices in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. BNS offers original reporting about events not just in Latvia, but also in the Baltic region. BNS used to organise the annual Mass Media Games. As many as 2000 representatives of Latvian media outlets and media agencies and members of their families have come together to relax and engage in sports. The last known information is about the 18th Mass Media Games, which took place in 2012.