Nent, Telenor Group announce merger deal for Viasat Consumer and Canal Digital

Media company Nordic Entertainment Group (Nent) has reached an agreement with Norwegian telco Telenor Group to combine the former’s Viasat Consumer satellite pay-television operations with the latter’s Canal Digital service.

Through the agreement, Nent and Telenor will each hold 50 per cent of the shares of a new joint venture company. Nent said the deal will create “substantial synergies and shareholder value” and provide an enhanced proposition for customers.

The combination will generate a Nordic player with combined net sales of around SEK7.6bn (€708m/$787m) and 1.25 million subscribers. Nent forecasts that the deal will yield annual cost synergies of approximately SEK650m, with full effect from 2022.

Integration and other related costs are expected to total around SEK900m. The joint venture is expected to distribute available cash to its shareholders and is subject to EU regulatory approval. The deal is expected to be completed during the first half of 2020.

Nent Group president and chief executive Anders Jensen said: “We are creating a large-scale TV operator that will create sustainable value for customers and owners and be able to compete with large-scale regional and local competitors. We have achieved complete alignment of interest through a 50-50 joint venture structure and a shared vision for brands, products and how to provide an even better consumer experience.

“This deal will drive significant shareholder value and it fits perfectly with our strategy to focus on the substantial opportunity we see in the fast-growing streaming sector. The new joint venture will be a major distribution partner for both our Viasat channels and Viaplay.”

The deal has been signed after Nent last week agreed a new rights deal with the Infront agency for International Ice Hockey Federation rights. The deal, which runs from 2024 to 2028, is for exclusive rights in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden to the IIHF World Championships and the two annual Division I tournaments (both Group A and B).