Scandinavian media group MTG is offloading more of its broadcast network, this time selling its businesses in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania for €115m (US$124m).
MTG has signed an agreement to sell its free TV, pay TV, digital and radio businesses in the Baltic region to Providence Equity Partners, the global asset-management firm that owns Eastern European mobile operator Bite.

The deal includes three TV channels in Estonia (TV3, TV3+, TV6), five in Latvia (TV3, TV3+, TV6, Kanals 2, LNT) and three in Lithuania (TV3, TV6, TV8), as well as numerous regional pay TV channels.

The Stockholm-based firm said its Baltic businesses, which have been operating for more than two decades, had reported SEK1.02bn ($116m) of sales and SEK91m in operating income (EBIT) for 2016. The deal is subject to regulatory approvals.

Proceeds will be used to “transform the company further,” MTG said, with the sale the latest effort to cut back on its traditional broadcast network and refocus on digital operations.

MTG has already sold its stake in Russian broadcaster CTC Media, following local regulatory changes, and offloaded two Hungarian channels to Sony Pictures Television. Late last year it completed the sale of its free-TV broadcasting and production businesses in Ghana and Nigeria.

The firm has simultaneously been investing in multi-channel networks including Splay and Zoomin.TV and rolling out Viaplay across Eastern Europe.

Jørgen Madsen Lindemann, MTG president and CEO, said: “We are on a journey to build an even stronger presence in the global digital arena, and I am happy that we have found a buyer that shares our view of the potential of the Baltic businesses.

“Our Baltic colleagues can look forward to a new era that taps the full possibilities of the Baltic media market.”

Karim Tabet, MD at Providence, added: “MTG’s Baltic broadcasting businesses are all leaders in their respective areas and we’re excited to partner with such a talented group of people to grow the company together. After our acquisition of Bite in 2016, this transaction highlights Providence’s continued commitment to investing in the Baltic region.”

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By Expat