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SOFIA (Bulgaria), February 22 (SeeNews) - Swedish entertainment company Modern Times Group (MTG) said on Friday that it has agreed to sell its 95% shareholding in Bulgaria's Nova Broadcasting Group to local Advance Media Group in an all cash deal, which values the company at 185 million euro ($210 million).
The deal is expected to be closed in the second quarter of 2019 following anti-trust approval, MTG said in a statement.
Luxembourg-registered Eastern European Media Holdings holds the remaining 5% interest in Nova Broadcasting Group.
The proceeds from the sale will be used to develop MTG’s global digital entertainment verticals through organic investment and mergers and acquisitions, the Swedish company explained.
"This transaction is in line with our strategic decision to find new owners to invest in our international entertainment operations, while we focus on our global digital verticals," Joergen Madsen Lindemann, MTG President and CEO, said.
Last month MTG decided to terminate its agreement to sell Nova Broadcasting Group to Czech-based investment group PPF.
"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," MTG said at the time.
Nova Broadcasting Group comprises seven TV channels, as well as complementary online businesses that reach on average 74% of the Bulgarian population on a monthly basis, according to the statement. In 2018, the company generated sales of 1.15 billion Swedish crowns ($124 million/109 million euro) and earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) of 223 million Swedish crowns.
Nova Broadcasting Group employed 650 people at the end of 2018.
Advance Media Group is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Advance Properties, which in turn is jointly owned by Bulgarian investors Kiril Domuschiev and Georgi Domuschiev. Advance Properties owns 117 companies across 23 countries, according to MTG's statement.
MTG entered Bulgaria in 2007 via the acquisition of Balkan Media Group Limited, which operated the Diema TV channels. In 2008, MTG bought Nova. In Bulgaria, Nova Broadcasting Group's main rival is BTV Media Group, owned by Bermuda-registered Central European Media Enterprises.
($ = 0.8812 euro)