CME Wraps Up Ukrainian Sale, Nears Closure of Bulgarian Buy

Business | April 8, 2010, Thursday // 11:48|  views

bTV sale is the third large deal on the Bulgarian TV market for the last two years after the US Central European Media Enterprises bought the cable TV2 and Ring for EUR 110 M, and the Swedish MTG Group acquired Nova TV for EUR 620 M. File photo

Central European Media Enterprises Ltd. (CME) has announced the closing of its previously announced transaction to sell 100% of its Ukraine operations, the proceeds from which will be used to fund the acquisition of the bTV group in Bulgaria.

The east European television broadcaster partly owned by Time Warner Inc. sold 100% of its Ukraine operations, including the Studio 1+1 and Kino channels, to Harley Trading Limited, a company beneficially owned by Igor Kolomoisky.

CME received cash consideration of USD 30 M on February 1, 2010 and the balance of USD 278 M on April 7, 2010, which includes USD 8 M for the reimbursement of cash expenses of the Studio 1+1 group incurred between signing and closing of the transaction.

The proceeds from the transactions will be used to fund the acquisition of the bTV group, a leading free-to-air broadcasting group in Bulgaria, the company announced. The acquisition is expected to close in April 2010.

Central European Media, or CME as the company is known, signed a deal on February 18 for the acquisition of Bulgaria's first national private television bTV, wholly owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

Under the terms of the agreement, CME will pay USD 400 M in cash for 100% of the terrestrial free-to-air TV channel, bTV. It will also take control of the two genre channels, bTV Comedy and bTV Cinema, along with News Corporation’s 74-per-cent interest in Radio Company C.J which operates five radio stations.

This sale completes News Corporation's programme of exiting its substantial Eastern European free-to-air broadcasting businesses, the company said.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approval by the Bulgarian Commission for the Protection of Competition and other customary closing conditions.

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Tags: Ring, TV2, Nova TV, bTV, Rupert Murdoch, CME


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