CME sale talks “completely untrue” say co-CEOs

CME co-CEO Michael Del Nin

CME co-CEO Michael Del Nin

Central European Media Enterprises (CME) has dismissed recent reports that investment group PPF is in talks to buy the company or its flagship Czech channel TV Nova. 

In an interview with Czech business newspaper Hospodářské noviny, CME co-CEO Michael Del Nin said the company sale speculation was “completely untrue,” and described TV Nova as “the heart of this company.”

“We are not conducting any negotiations for the sale of the company; we plan to be here for a long time,” said Del Nin.

CME co-CEO Christoph Mainusch added: “Our strategy is to focus on and improve our broadcasting business, and once this assignment is completed, we want to further develop this company. We can then launch new channels or expand to new markets. Why should we sell TV Nova? This wouldn’t fit within this strategy at all.”

However, the pair did concede that it is looking to sell some assets as part of CME’s turnaround plans, which they started enacting after taking over from former CEO Adrian Sarbu in August in a bid to stem the firm’s losses.

Del Nin said “most of the assets that we want to divest are in Romania” – including radio stations, cinemas or its theatrical distribution business.

“They are good assets, but they have diverted us from a focus on our core business. We have a number of interested parties from across the region looking at them,” said Del Nin.

Last month local reports claimed that Czech businessmen including billionaire Petr Kellner, who owns PPF, were are in takeover talks with CME’s majority shareholder Time Warner. However, PPF later denied it was in talks to buy CME or TV Nova.