CME agrees to be acquired by Czech firm PPF in $2.1 billion deal

PRAGUE (Reuters) - Investment group PPF, owned by the Czech Republic's wealthiest businessman, Petr Kellner, will buy broadcaster Central European Media Enterprises Ltd (CME) in a cash deal valued at about $2.1 billion, the companies said on Sunday.

Reuters October 28, 2019 05:06:12 IST
CME agrees to be acquired by Czech firm PPF in $2.1 billion deal

CME agrees to be acquired by Czech firm PPF in 21 billion deal

PRAGUE (Reuters) - Investment group PPF, owned by the Czech Republic's wealthiest businessman, Petr Kellner, will buy broadcaster Central European Media Enterprises Ltd (CME) in a cash deal valued at about $2.1 billion, the companies said on Sunday.

The deal, seen closing around the middle of 2020, will mark the exit of CME's largest shareholder, AT&T Inc , as it pays down debt. It also expands PPF's reach in the media and telecommunications landscape across central and eastern Europe.

Under the deal, PPF will pay $4.58 per share in cash to shareholders of Nasdaq- and Prague-listed CME, which operates television stations in the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.

The valuation represented a 32% premium to CME's stock price before it announced a strategic review, which first floated the idea of a sale, in March this year, CME said.

AT&T, which holds 64% of the common stock, has agreed to vote in favour of the deal, it said.

For PPF, CME will potentially complement its ownership of Czech telecoms operator O2 Czech Republic along with Telenor assets it acquired in Hungary, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Serbia in 2018.

PPF said it did not intend to make any significant changes to CME's operations.

CME, which was founded by U.S. investor Ronald Lauder in the 1990s, has boosted revenue and profits in recent years on the back of rising advertising spending in growing economies in the region in which it operates.

It has also shed assets and cut down a debt load that once stood above $1 billion and needed financing help from shareholder Time Warner.

AT&T inherited CME after it bought Time Warner in 2018.

AT&T said that under terms of the deal, it would receive about $1.1 billion in cash at the close and be relieved of a $575 million debt guarantee.

(Reporting by Jason Hovet, additional reporting by Ismail Shakil in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Cooney)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.