Petr Kellner has rejected speculation that he wants to influence policy in the Czech Republic by buying Nova. PPF group announced Sunday that it reached an agreement to buy Central European Media Enterprises (CME), which also owns Nova.
PPF reported the takeover agreement on Sunday evening. It will pay $ 2.1 billion (CZK 48.3 billion) for the company operating television stations in the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia. The deal is still subject to regulatory approval.
Linking telecommunications and content is a global trend, PPF said, adding that AT&T took over the media company Time Warner last year. “Television is still a lucrative business whose connection with telecommunications makes a lot of sense. We see buying CME as a good investment opportunity,” PPF wrote. CME has been named one of the best TV content producers in Central and Eastern Europe.
Media expert Jan Potůček mentioned the perception that PPF Group’s acquisition of CME is not only business but also as an attempt to gain an influential medium on Monday. “Every strong investment group in the Czech Republic has its media and is not a major source of profits. In the media, the ownership effect is not only measured by money but above all on influence,” he said.
Similarly, media analyst Milan Smid said. “In my opinion, there may be some political reason, but whether this speculation is confirmed, we have to wait to see if political journalism will reappear on Nova,” he wrote.
The Independent Journalism Endowment Fund warned against further undermining confidence in media independence. “Recent years have shown that the situation where the largest entrepreneurs and their groups are buying up the country’s most influential media undermines confidence in their independence and puts pressure on journalists themselves. Petr Kellner’s latest transaction continues this path,” said the fund’s director Josef Šlerka. He also called on PPF to say that the broadcasting of Nova and television stations in other countries would not be an instrument for promoting commercial, financial, and political interests.