Nordic MTG agrees sale of Bulgarian broadcaster Nova Televizia to Czech PPF Group

Modern Times Group (MTG) said on February 19 that it has agreed to sell its majority stake in Bulgarian broadcaster Nova Broadcasting Group to Czech investment conglomerate PPF Group.

The deal valued Nova Broadcasting at 185 million euro, MTG said. In a separate statement, PPF Group said it would be acquiring full control of the company by purchasing 95 per cent from MTG and the remaining 5% stake from Eastern European Media Holdings S.A.

PPF Group said that it expected to close the deal, subject to regulatory approvals, in the first half of this year.

MTG exits Bulgaria more than a decade after entering the market through the acquisition of the Diema stable of cable channels in 2007. A year later, it bought Nova Televizia – one of Bulgaria’s two largest privately-owned free-to-air broadcasters – from Greece’s Antenna Group for 620 million euro.

In 2013, Nova Broadcasting expanded its digital footprint when it agreed to purchase 70 per cent of the merged assets of Bulgarian radio broadcaster Darik and Netinfo, which operated a number of websites, including a video sharing portal and webmail service.

“We have built Nova into Bulgaria’s number one commercial media group with 33% commercial share of viewing, and ownership of some of the country’s top digital brands,” MTG CEO Jørgen Madsen Lindemann said.

“MTG’s investments are focused on our Nordic Entertainment, Studios and global digital entertainment verticals, which is why we have found a new home for our Bulgarian employees with a partner that will invest in Nova’s future,” he said. “This will bring to a close the disposal of our international entertainment operations and leaves MTG as a more focused group, which is in line with our previously stated strategy.”

PPF Group, controlled by billionaire Petr Kellner, had 35 billion euro in assets, as of June 30 2017, in sectors ranging from banking and financial services to telecommunications, real estate and biotechnology.

The Czech conglomerate has been reported to be interested in further acquisitions in Bulgaria, with separate reports in Serbia and Bulgaria claiming that PPF Group has made an approach to buy the Central and Eastern European operations of Nordic telecom provider Telenor.

Telenor owns the second-largest mobile carrier in Bulgaria, which it acquired in April 2013, and its other regional operations are in Hungary, Serbia and Montenegro.

The telecom confirmed last month that it received “an unsolicited interest for its Central and Eastern Europe portfolio” and was evaluating the interest, expecting to conduct its assessment in the first quarter of 2018. It did not name the party interested in acquiring its subsidiaries.



The Sofia Globe staff

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