The news that PPF Group has acquired a 9.1% stake in ProSiebenSat.1 is undoubtedly a major development.
Besides making the Czech-based international investment company the second largest shareholder in ProSiebenSat.1 after Berlusconi’s MFE-MediaForEurope, it marks PPF Group’s first foray into the Western European media market.
Indeed, despite being a global investor with interests in 25 countries across Europe, North America and Asia, its involvement in the TMT sector has until now been limited to CEE. It has owned Central European Media Enterprises (CME), one of the longest-established broadcasters in the region, since 2020 and currently distributes a total of 43 TV channels to six countries.
SVOD is becoming increasingly important to its business and the proprietary platform Voyo has just passed the landmark of 500,000 subscribers in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, making it the most watched streaming service – ahead of Netflix and HBO Max – in the latter.
PPF Group also owns the telecom operators CETIN Group, Yettel and O2 Group, consolidated under PPF Telecom Group. CETIN Group, in which the Singapore-based investment firm GIC holds a 30% stake, is a leading wholesale provider of telecom infrastructure services in Central and South East Europe, while Yettel provides mobile services to 10 million customers in Bulgaria, Hungary and Serbia. O2 Group is the Czech incumbent telco.
Although PPF Group suffered a major blow in March 2021 when its founder Petr Kellner was killed in a helicopter crash in Alaska, it has continued to grow. One of its major acquisitions came last year, when CME bought the broadcaster RTL Croatia. It has also recently been reported that it is preparing to buy Nej.cz, which is one of the leading operators in the Czech Republic with some 250,000 subscribers.
However, the acquisition of a stake in ProSiebenSat.1 indicates that its ambitions also lie outside the region and in due course the group could become a leading player in Europe as a whole.
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