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MTG finds new Nova buyer

Scandinavian media outfit Modern Times Group (MTG) has found a new buyer for its Bulgarian operation Nova Broadcasting Group (NBG).

Jørgen Madsen Lindemann

MTG is selling its 95% stake in NBG to Advance Media Group, a subsidiary of Advance Properties OOD, which is jointly owned by Bulgarian businessmen Kiril Domuschiev and Georgi Domuschiev.

Advance Properties has a portfolio of 117 companies across 23 countries in more than 10 industries, including pharmaceuticals, shipping, port operation, real estate and power generation.

NBG is Bulgaria’s largest commercial media group and consists of seven TV channels and various online businesses, employing 650 staff.

MTG revealed earlier this year that it had entered into discussions with new parties regarding the sale of NBG after a €185m (US$210m) deal with PPF Group was terminated in 2018. PPF Group is the investment company controlled by Czech businessman Petr Kellner.

The original sale fell through after it was blocked by the Bulgarian Commission for the Protection of Competition.

NBG’s price has held steady since then, with the deal with Advance Media Group valuing 100% of NBG at €185m. The sale remains subject to local regulatory approval and is expected to take place during the second quarter of this year.

Stockholm-based MTG said proceeds from the sale would be used to develop its “global digital entertainment verticals” through organic investment and M&A. Citigroup Global Markets is acting as financial adviser to MTG on the deal.

The firm said the sale of NBG would result in a net capital gain of approximately SEK1.3bn (US$139m).

Jørgen Madsen Lindemann, MTG president and CEO, said: “This deal with Advance Media Group will ensure the continued development of Nova, which CEO Didier Stoessel and his team have grown into Bulgaria’s leading commercial media group.”

MTG is also in the process of splitting off from Nordic broadcasting and production giant Nordic Entertainment Group (NENT Group), which has become the latest UK-based international operator to make changes to prepare for the possibility of a no-deal Brexit, C21 has learned.

Lindemann added of the Advance Properties deal: “This transaction is in line with our strategic decision to find new owners to invest in our international entertainment operations, while we focus on our global digital verticals. Following the forthcoming distribution of NENT Group, MTG will be a standalone strategic operational and investment holding company focused on eSports and online gaming.”

MTG’s ongoing strategy of selling off its TV assets and focusing on digital entertainment has so far seen it offload TV channels in Russia, the Baltics, the Czech Republic, Ghana, Nigeria and elsewhere.

 

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