Czech PPF Group pulls out of Bulgarian media deal

Czech investment group PPF, whose majority shareholder is the Czech billionaire Petr Kellner, said on January 7 that it was pulling out of a deal to buy Bulgaria’s Nova Broadcasting Group from Sweden’s MTG. The move follows the rejection of the deal by Bulgaria’s anti-monopoly watchdog.

The 185 million-euro sale was announced in February 2018, with MTG saying the proceeds would be used for investment in its Nordic entertainment, studios and global digital entertainment businesses.

“The termination of the agreement with PPF Group follows the decision by the Bulgarian Commission for the Protection of Competition to disallow the proposed sale to PPF Group, as well as the expiration of an extended long-stop date under the sale and purchase agreement,” said MTG in a statement.

MTG has now entered into discussions with other interested parties regarding the sale of its stake in Nova.

The Bulgarian regulator said last July it had blocked the transaction because it would offer PPF a competitive advantage on the media services market that could lead to increased prices for consumers. PPF Group invests into multiple market segments such as banking and financial services, telecommunications, real estate and biotechnology. The group’s reach spans from Europe to Russia, the US and across Asia.

MTG owns 95 per cent of Nova Broadcasting, which is Bulgaria’s largest commercial media group with seven TV channels and 19 online businesses. Luxembourg-registered Eastern European Media Holdings holds the remaining 5 per cent, which were also due to be sold to PPF under the now abandoned deal.