CME Ready for More Buys after Bulgarian AcquisitionBusiness | April 23, 2010, Friday // 13:16| 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 (CME) has announced plans to invest between USD 300-400 M in further TV station acquisitions in the Central and Eastern European region.
"If there’s an opportunity to acquire a profitable asset, we’d consider that. There are operations for sale, it’s just a matter of price.” the company's CEO Adrian Sarbu said.
Alternately, CME may use the money to buy back its debt.
Sarbu added that CME also expects its Bulgarian operations, which have been significantly increased with the recent acquisition of bTV and associated interests, to become profitable in EBITDA terms in Q4 this year.
CME in addition expects to eventually account for over 40% of the audience share and between 50-60% of the TV ad market in Bulgaria.
News Corporation completed the sale of the largest Bulgarian private TV station, bTV, to Central European Media Enterprises earlier in the week.
Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation sold bTV for a total of USD 400 M plus a payment of USD 13 M for a working capital adjustment to Central European Media Enterprises owned by another tycoon, Ronald Lauder.
Regulatory clearance from the Bulgarian Competition Protection Agency was received on April 8, 2010.
Under the terms of the agreement, CME will acquire 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% interest in Radio Company C.J which operates five radio stations.
The approval of Bulgaria's watchdog came just as CME wrapped up the sale of Ukrainian channels Studio 1+1 and Kino to local businessman Igor Kolomoisky for USD 300 M and said it would use the proceeds to close its Bulgarian buy.
News Corporation was advised by JP Morgan, while CME was advised by Deutsche Bank AG, London Branch.
The 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.
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