The Czech Republic’s PPF Group has in the space of a handful of years become a leading player in Central and Eastern Europe’s media and telecoms industry.
However, seven months after the tragic death of its owner Petr Kellner, how is its strategy evolving under his close ally and now group’s CEO Ladislav Bartonicek? Just this week we learned that it has agreed to sell a 30% stake in the CEE provider CETIN, formed last year by combining PPF’s infrastructure assets in the Czech Republic with those acquired from Telenor in Hungary, Bulgaria and Serbia, to the global investment firm GIC.
While this may seem surprising given that Bartonicek was quoted by the Czech publication Seznam Zpravy last April that the group is eyeing further acquisitions in the media and telecom sectors – none have since been announced – the deal should help PPF Group capitalise on the growing digital infrastructure sector in CEE.
More recently, in an interview with Forbes, Bartonicek revealed that, despite having TV and other media interests in other CEE markets, it has no plans to acquire such assets in Serbia. Indeed, it is “extremely happy, both with Telenor and CETIN, and the overall business climate in Serbia”.
Bartonicek also justified the delisting of the Czech incumbent O2 from the Prague Stock Exchange, arguing that by owning 100% of the company PPF Group will “better utilise the synergies between individual operators, between Telenor and O2 here in the region”.
In the case of synergies, he gave specific examples of co-promotions that are already taking place. They include the OTT service Voyo by O2 in Slovakia and operators’ products in free time on TV stations.
The latter include those operated by CME, which PPF Group acquired last year, in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania and Slovenia.
Speaking in a recent interview focused on Romania’s Pro TV, its CEO Didier Stoessel said that he initially found CME “a bit sleepy” as a group, with it having been on the market for a few years. He has since made it more entrepreneurial, overseen reinvestment and started moving it from a TV to a digital organisation.
For more information about Chris Dziadul, please visit https://www.chrisdziadul.com