Important TV industry stories often break in the run-up to or during the Christmas holiday period and the most recent was no exception.
In Central and Eastern Europe, the most eye-catching development was undoubtedly United Group’s announcement that it has agreed to buy Nova, one of the two leading commercial broadcasting companies in Bulgaria. Once closed in the early part of 2021, it will become the fourth major acquisition by United Group since securing BC Partners as its main shareholder two years ago. Crucially, it will also see United Group enter yet another major South East European market, with the last missing piece in the jigsaw puzzle now being Romania.
In another important M&A, we saw Ukraine’s leading cable operator Volia signal a change of ownership, with the local communications service provider Datagroup, itself majority owned by Horizon Capital’s EEGF II fund, agreeing to buy 100% of Volia for an undisclosed fee.
Two other transactions also made the news, with Baring Vostok agreeing to sell its stake in ER Telecom, one of Russia’s leading pay-TV and broadband providers, to a holding owned by Andrey Kuzyaev, already the company’s largest shareholder, and the Croatian retail chain Pevex selling Z1 Televizija to Kodiak Trade.
In other important developments, Poland’s Cyfrowy Polsat signalled its intention to buy the remaining shares it does not already own in the alternative telco Netia and the Lithuanian national transmission company Telecentras announced that it has finally completed the sale of its subsidiary Mezon to the Bite group.
This time of year is never complete without carriage disputes and a few days ago we learned that 2021 began with the Romanian DTH platform Focus Sat dropping a portfolio of Discovery channels from its offer. There have also been a number of executive appointments including those of Anita Orban and Silvia Majeska, who have assumed key positions at Vodafone Hungary and the Czech Republic’s TV Nova respectively.