Telia continues acquisition drive with Bonnier deal

Swedish telco Telia has today (Friday) acquired media group Bonnier Broadcasting, with the SEK 9.2bn (€897.8m/$1.05bn) deal set to result in the formation of a new business area encompassing both parties’ broadcast interests.

The deal will result in Telia acquiring Bonnier brands including Swedish commercial broadcaster TV4 and pay-television broadcaster C More, as well as Finnish pay-television broadcaster MTV, all of whom have significant sports interests.

C More launched its Sportkanalen service in October, which offers live coverage of the top divisions of football, ice hockey and handball in Sweden, as well as NBA basketball and PGA Tour golf. MTV last month signed a three-season rights extension, running from 2019 to 2021, for the Formula One motor racing championship.

Through the acquisition, Telia will establish a new business area, where both Telia’s existing television business and the Bonnier businesses will be included. Telia said the intention is that Casten Almqvist, who is currently chief executive of Bonnier Broadcasting, will take up the same role for the new business area.

Johan Dennelind, president and chief executive of Telia, said: “It is a very important day for Telia. The acquisition is a natural next step to complement Telia’s core business, where our millions of customers give us a very strong position in the market.

“Together with TV4 we will serve customers and viewers in new ways and create new business opportunities. We have great respect for our new role as a media owner and have a clear view of how we will maintain the editorial integrity of the business going forward.”

The Bonnier deal comes just days after Telia reached an agreement worth NOK21bn (€2.21bn/$2.57bn) to acquire Danish telco TDC’s business in Norway, a move that puts pressure on market leader Telenor.

Telia acquired GET and TDC Norway at an enterprise value of NOK21bn on a cash and debt-free basis. Telia will combine its mobile network with GET’s television and fixed services to create a strong challenger on the Norwegian market with converged customer offerings.

The Bonnier transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to be completed during the second half of 2019.