Czech Mogul to Buy Bulgaria’s Top Media Group

February 19, 2018
Czech billionaire Peter Kellner is set to buy Bulgaria's largest media company, Nova Broadcasting, which owns some of the most popular commercial TV channels in the country.
Swedish MTG group exits Bulgarian market after more than a decade of development of the largest media conglomerate in the country. Photo: MTG

Sweden-based entertainment conglomerate Modern Times Group, MTG, announced on Monday that it is to sell 95 per cent of the shares in Bulgaria’s Nova Broadcasting to PFF, a firm owned by Czech billionaire Peter Kellner, for 185 million euros.

Nova Broadcasting is Bulgaria’s largest commercial media group and comprises seven TV channels and 19 websites, including the leading Nova TV channel, Kino Nova, Nova Sport, Diema and Diema Sport amongst others. 

Novagenerated 100 million euros in sales and 20 million euros in operating income in 2017,   according to MTG reports. The group employs 650 people in Bulgaria.

A Nielsen-Admosphere research agency report from April 2017 said Nova Broadcasting is Bulgaria’s number one commercial media group, with a 32 per cent commercial share of viewing, followed by bTV Media Group, part of Central European Media Enterprises. The groups have the only private TV channels with national coverage in Bulgaria. 

In a statement on Monday, MTG said it would invest the sale money in its “Nordic Entertainment, Studios and global digital entertainment businesses”.

MTG acquired Nova in 2008 for 620 million euros, the Bulgarian weekly, Capital, recalled.

The sale is expected to be finalised during the first half of this year, after the Bulgarian Competition body assess the deal.

Kellner is one of the richest men in Central and Eastern European, with a net worth of 16 billion US dollars, according to Forbes.

His PFF group, which has assets of almost 35 billion euros, is a significant shareholder in Home Credit, a consumer-finance firm with operations in the Czech Republic and 10 other countries, including China and Russia, according to Forbes.

Other assets owned by the company include a stake in O2 Czech Republic, a London-listed Polymetal gold and silver mining company and PPF Bank.

Keller, who rarely appears in public, rose to riches in the early years of democratic transformation in the former Czechoslovakia, after launching an office appliances business and later taking over the Czech Insurance company.