At the same time, it has appointed, with immediate effect, Didier Stoessel CEO at CME, responsible for the Czech, Romanian, Slovak, and Slovenian markets. Meanwhile, Lubos Jetmar has been named CEO CME Bulgaria responsible for operations, strategy, and growth development plans in Bulgaria. Stoessel brings with him extensive strategic and senior management experience in media, technology, and global finance and previously worked for Modern Times Group, as head of TV Nova in Bulgaria; HSBC Investment Bank; and Merrill Lynch International.
PPF Group notes that the transaction was subject to regulatory approval by the European Commission, which was obtained last week; national regulators in certain countries, and CME shareholders. Shares on the NASDAQ Global Select Market and Prague Stock Exchange have been delisted and now cease to exist following the completion of the acquisition. Holders of CME’s Class A Common Shares immediately prior to the effective time of the merger will receive $4.58 per share.
Commenting on the transaction, Petr Kellner, PPF majority shareholder, said: “We are driven by a sense of responsibility given CME’s past achievements with these TV networks. We want to build on those successes and on the position that these networks occupy in their respective markets as independent broadcasters. We are looking forward to creating new business opportunities between media operations and telecommunication services. Finally, we are pleased to have such a strong and loyal audience and intend to strengthen the relationship with our viewers through content and a superior user experience”.
Stoessel added: “We have acquired a well-managed company with exceptional consumer reach and outstanding brand awareness, and I look forward to working with the excellent management at our TV stations. My priority is to accelerate the digital transformation of the business, increase our content creation capabilities, and continue the CME legacy by providing independent and objective news as well as high-quality entertainment for our viewers”.
CME operates television stations in the Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Bulgaria and is one of the leading media and entertainment companies in Central and Eastern Europe. Its presence in the region dates back to the early 1990s and it currently broadcasts 30 television channels, both free and paid, and reaches a total of 45 million viewers.