The Slovenia Times

POP TV operator acquired by United Group


The deal was announced by the KKR in a press release on Monday, which said that the acquisition needed to get approval from market regulators in Slovenia and Croatia.

KKR director Jean-Pierre Saad said that the US-based fund supported media and telecom businesses to grow further in the current digital ecosystem.

The United Group announced that it would "invest in those channels to further build their local production capabilities and expand their reach beyond their respective local markets."

Dirk Werner of the EBRD added that the "announcement represents a strong vote of confidence in the Croatian and Slovenian economies by a leading international investor and will offer consumers direct access to high quality local and international digital content."

CME meanwhile said in a press release it had agreed to sell its leading broadcast operations in Croatia (Nova TV) and in Slovenia (POP TV) to the United Group for a combined EUR 230m. The transaction is expected to close by year-end.

The company said that the proceeds would be used to repay EUR 250.8m in loans due in 2018, which would significantly reduce CME's net leverage ratio.

David Petraeus, the president of the KKR Global Institute, visited Slovenia in May, meeting Prime Minister Miro Cerar as part of the visit.

Petraeus said on the occasion that the KKR, which co-owns telecommunications operator Telemach in Slovenia, had been attracted by the country's economic potential and the opportunities it provided as an investment destination.

The value of the KKR's portfolio in the media and ICT industry stands at more than US$8bn, while its entire investment portfolio in Europe exceeds US$20bn.

The KKR acquired the United Group, a regional media and telecommunications operator, in the spring of 2014.

Media expert Marko Milosavljević commented on the deal for the STA, saying that the connection between the United Group and Pro Plus was "probably the biggest and most important merger of the kind in the Slovenian media space since independence".

According to the professor at the Ljubljana Faculty of Social Sciences, market regulators will have a tough job in examining the impact of the deal on several markets.

If approved, the deal would have a great impact, not only because of its economic power and size, but also in terms of regulation on various relevant markets. "It is a mixture of most versatile services modern technology can offer."

"Such a corporation, such a conglomerate can influence the advertising market, subscribers and providers on at least ten relevant markets," Milosavljević assessed, adding that the case required a detailed analysis because of its complexity.


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