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MTG completes disposal drive with sale of Nova

Digital entertainment company Modern Times Group has completed the disposal of its international entertainment operations by selling Bulgarian commercial broadcaster Nova to PPF Group, the investment company controlled by Czech billionaire Petr Kellner.

MTG has sold its 95 per cent stake in Nova under a deal that grants the business an enterprise value of €185m ($226.3m).

MTG said it will use the proceeds to invest in its Nordic entertainment, studios and global digital entertainment businesses, in line with its ongoing strategic transformation from a traditional national broadcaster into a global digital entertainer.

Nova is Bulgaria’s largest commercial media group and comprises seven television channels and 19 online businesses. It is a broadcaster of sport in the country and in September acquired rights to the inaugural season of the World Boxing Super Series.

MTG first entered Bulgaria in 2007 when investing in Balkan Media Group Limited, which operated the Diema TV channels, and then later acquired Nova in 2008.

PPF’s interests include Czech telco O2, which operates pay-television broadcaster O2 TV, a major broadcaster of sport in the country. PPF said it will also acquire the remaining five per cent stake in Nova from Eastern European Media Holdings. The takeover is set to be completed in the first half of this year, subject to regulatory clearance.

Commenting on the deal, MTG president and chief executive Jørgen Madsen Lindemann said: “We have built Nova into Bulgaria’s No.1 commercial media group with 33 per cent commercial share of viewing, and ownership of some of the country’s top digital brands.

“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.”