Antenna Group sells Serbia and Montenegro channels

International broadcast company Antenna Group has agreed to sell its media operations in Serbia and Montenegro to Serbian media entrepreneur Srdjan Milovanovic for €180 million.

Antenna’s Serbian business comprises two free-to-air TV channels – PRVA and 02TV – and a portfolio of six premium pay-television channels, four websites and one radio station in Serbia. It also owns and operates one leading national TV channel and a radio station in Montenegro.

Antenna said that, since acquiring its first free-to-air channel in Serbia in 2009, it had invested significantly in acquisitions and organic growth, expanding the business and consequently its market share in TV advertising revenue from 4% to a leadership position.

Milovanovic was the co-owner and founder with his brother Zvezdan Milovanovic of Kopernikus Technology, the second-largest Serbian cable operator after market leader SBB. The pair sold a majority stake to private equity group Abris Capital Partners in 2016, and Abris and Milovanovic’s company sold Kopernikus Technology, which has around 200,000 subscribers, to Telekom Srbija for a reported €200 million last month. Zvezdan Milovanovic represents the ruling Serbian Progressive Party in the city of Niš, and opposition politicians have alleged that Srdjan Milovanovic’s purchase of Antenna’s channels is primarily politically motivated.

“We are proud to have built the operations in Serbia and Montenegro into the number one television, digital, radio and content platform in those countries. It also demonstrates the strength of our strategy to invest in exciting media and entertainment assets in high-growth markets across Europe, and drive growth by offering the best content via every possible distribution channel” said Theo Kyriakou, shareholder and chairman of Antenna Group, following the announcement of the sale.

“The combination of our very talented local team with thorough broadcast expertise, our execution of strong local multi-channel content platform strategy, and the investor-friendly governments of Serbia and Montenegro positioned Antenna for success in two of the region’s fastest-growing markets. We saw the market potential when we made our investment, and we still see it today. Europe’s media consumption habits are undergoing a significant transformation – this creates a unique opportunity to expand into new markets in media, content and distribution that we are excited to continue pursuing.”

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