Central European Media Enterprises is buying News Corp's bTV, the free-to-air commercial television channel in Bulgaria, as well as the bTV Cinema and bTV Comedy cable channels and 74 per cent of Radio Company C.J. OOD which operates several radio stations (the bTV Group). Total consideration is $400 million cash.
The transaction is subject to the approval of the Bulgarian Commission for the Protection of Competition and other customary closing conditions and is expected to complete in the second quarter of 2010.
Adrian Sarbu, President and CEO of CME, commented: “The acquisition of bTV is the next step in repositioning CME after the sale of our Ukrainian operations. We are now focused on building a highly profitable vertically integrated media company operating in the EU and EU accession countries. bTV greatly complements our portfolio of broadcasting assets. I am confident that we will be able to bring Bulgarian viewers an enhanced TV offer and deliver significant value for our shareholders.”
In connection with this acquisition, CME will also enter into an agreement to acquire from Top Tone Holdings Limited its 20 per cent interest in CME's Pro.BG business in consideration of a 6 per cent interest in a newly created subsidiary that will hold the bTV business and Pro.BG businesses and the termination of the existing agreements in respect of the Pro.BG business. Top Tone Holdings will also have the right to acquire an additional 4 per cent interest for period of up to three years from closing. The closing is expected to be simultaneous with the completion of the acquisition of the bTV businesses.