CME buys News Corp’s bTV for US$400m

Central and Eastern European broadcast group CME has acquired Bulgarian free-to-air station bTV. CME will pay current owner News Corp US$400m (€297m) for the commercial station. The deal also gives CME the bTV cable channels bTV’s bTV Cinema and bTV Comedy and a majority share of the company’s radio interests.

The agreement needs to be approved by the Bulgarian Commission for the Protection of Competition. Assuming that is forthcoming the deal will close in the second quarter.

CME, which has suffered as advertising revenues have declined sharply across the central and eastern European territories in which it operates, has been busy repositioning itself in recent months. Last month it announced the sale of its Ukrainian TV channels for US$300m.

News Corp said in late 2008 that it wanted to offload bTV before postponing the sales process because of the global financial crisis. Companies linked to the Bulgarian broadcaster before the CME deal included Modern Times Group and RTL.

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