The owner of the five bTV television channels and Ring TV in Bulgaria is launching a process of exploring and evaluating the potential strategic alternatives to them in order to maximize the benefits for the shareholders. Among the possibilities is the sale of part of the assets and of all Central European Media Enterprises or a merger with a strategic partner. This was announced on Monday by the company, which is listed on the Prague Stock Exchange and Nasdaq (NASDAQ). The decision was taken by the Governing Board and supported by the US giant AT & T, the largest shareholder in EMEA.
A Special Commission, composed of independent directors, will be set up to guide the analysis of possible alternatives. These include the sale of part or all of the SMP, merger with another strategic partner, recapitalization or continuation of the company’s long-term business plan.
John Billock, Chairman of the Management Board of SME, said in a statement that “the company has never been in such good shape after 5 years of unprecedented growth and impressive stabilization.” “We are absolutely convinced that this is the moment for strategic review as we continue to fulfill our long-term plan and strive to maximize the value of our shares for all of our shareholders,” he said.
There is no guarantee that this study will lead to any transactions, the communication says. The company has not put any deadlines in the process and will not provide any further information or comments unless it thinks it needs to do so.
Financial consultants are BofA Merrill Lynch and Allen & Company LLC, and Covington & Burling LLP is a legal consultant.
CME is present in 5 Central European countries with a total population of about 45 million people, with 30 television channels. Six of them are in Bulgaria: bTV, bTV Cinema, bTV Comedy, bTV Action, bTV Lady and Ring. In the Czech Republic there are 8 channels under the Nova brand, in Romania – 7 (with the PRO brand), another 4 are in Slovakia (Markíza is best known) and 5 are in Slovenia under different brands.