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PPF Group agrees to acquire SEE-active CME for 1.9 bln euro

Author Mario Tanev
PPF Group agrees to acquire SEE-active CME for 1.9 bln euro TV, entertainment

SOFIA (Bulgaria), October 28 (SeeNews) - Bermuda-based media and entertainment group Central European Media Enterprises, which is mainly active in Southeast Europe, said on Monday that it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by an affiliate of Dutch-based PPF Group for some $2.1 billion (1.9 billion euro).

Holders of CME's Class A common shares will receive $4.58 per share, which represents a premium of some 32% to CME’s share price prior to the announcement on March 25 that the company is commencing a process to explore and evaluate potential strategic alternatives, CME said in a statement.

The agreement has been approved unanimously by CME’s board of directors, and has the approval of its largest shareholder - US giant AT&T.

"Over the course of the last six years, while transforming the business and delivering a continuous stretch of astonishing profitability growth, our primary focus has been on creating value for our owners. This transaction, which is the culmination of those efforts, is the right one for our shareholders and a satisfying conclusion to one of the most successful turnarounds of a leading media company in recent times," Michael Del Nin and Christoph Mainusch, co-chief executive officers of CME, said in a statement.

In a separate statement on Monday, PPF Group said that the acquisition will be financed with a mix of equity and debt. PPF will borrow 1.15 billion euro in senior secured term and revolving acquisition facilities, fully underwritten by BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole CIB, Credit Suisse, HSBC, Societe Generale and UniCredit acting as underwriters, mandated lead arrangers and bookrunners.

The acquisition is expected to be completed around the middle of 2020, subject to the receipt of regulatory approvals and the satisfaction of customary closing conditions.

CME is being advised by Allen & Company and Bank of America Merrill Lynch as its financial advisors, and Covington&Burling as its legal advisor.

CME's operations broadcast 30 television channels in Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

The company's portfolio comprises the bTV, bTV Cinema, bTV Comedy, bTV Action, bTV Lady and Ring channels in Bulgaria, PRO TV, PRO 2, PRO X, PRO GOLD, PRO CINEMA, PRO TV International and PRO TV Chisinau in Romania and POP TV, Kanal A, Brio, Oto and Kino in Slovenia.

PPF Group is majority-owned by Petr Kellner with a 98.93% stake at the end of 2018, according to the company's latest annual financial report.

($ = 0.9016 euro)