Nordic MTG agrees sale of Bulgarian broadcaster Nova Televizia to local conglomerate

Modern Times Group (MTG) said on February 22 that it has agreed to sell its majority stake in Bulgarian broadcaster Nova Broadcasting Group to Bulgaria’s Advance Media Group, a subsidiary of the Advance Properties conglomerate owned by businessmen Kiril Domuschiev and Georgi Domuschiev.

MTG said in a statement that it was selling its 95 per cent stake in Nova Broadcasting, subject to regulatory approval by Bulgarian regulators, and that the deal valued the company at 185 million euro.

The announcement comes a year after MTG agreed the sale of Nova Broadcasting to Czech investment conglomerate PPF Group, controlled by billionaire Petr Kellner. The deal was blocked by Bulgaria’s competition watchdog in July 2018, despite the minimal overlap between Nova and Kellner’s other major acquisition in Bulgaria, the mobile operator Telenor.

A court appeal against the regulator’s ruling had been scheduled for March 2019, but MTG said last month that it terminated its agreement with PPF Group and opened talks with other interested parties.

The terms agreed by MTG with Advance Media valued the company at the same price as the earlier deal. The official confirmation comes several days after reports in Bulgarian media claimed that the deal was close to completion.

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.

Advance Properties owns 117 companies across 23 countries, which operate in more than 10 industries, MTG’s statement said. Major businesses operated by the Domuschievi brothers include former state-owned maritime shipping company Navibulgar and pharmaceutical company Huvepharma. Kiril Domuschiev is also owner of the Ludogorets Razgrad football club, winner of the last seven domestic league titles.



The Sofia Globe staff

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