CME divests Croatia, Slovenia operations for €230m

CME divests Croatia, Slovenia operations for €230m”

CME has sold its TV channels in Croatia and Slovenia for $262.5 million. -backed CME, which operates channels throughout the Central and Eastern European region, offloaded Nova TV and Pop TV to Slovenia Broadband, which is ultimately majority-owned by USA private equity outfit KKR. The transaction - which CME says will assist in establishing a more appropriate leverage profile for its operations - is expected to close by year-end.

Cash purchase price is €230.0 million (approximately $262.5 million), subject to customary working capital adjustments.

Croatia and Slovenia are the two smallest markets for CME, whose largest operations are in Czech Republic and Romania. The portfolio includes terrestrial TV channels Nova TV, Doma TV, POP TV and Kanal A, as well as several cable TV channels.

Slovenia Broadband, a subsidiary of United Group, which is majority-owned by the US investment firm KKR, has agreed to purchase CME's Nova TV in Croatia and Pop TV in Slovenia. "By investing in high quality local and global content, we will support the United Group teams to continue to offer differentiated and attractive content to all its customers across the region", Jean-Pierre Saad, director at KKR, was quoted as saying.

CME said the cash generated by the Slovenian and Croatian operations would "be more than offset" by estimated savings of at least $30m of interest costs annually. "That helps understand the potential impact", he said.He also said that while the sales brought forward the possibility of a dividend, CME had a way to go before considering payments and it was unlikely to pay one for this year or next."We have not guided 2018 results but I would be surprised (if) there is a dividend in (that) calendar year", Del Nin said.

Del Nin said the proceeds from the sale "will greatly accelerate our plans for debt reduction" and cut the company's average borrowing rate by more than a third.

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