United Group announces €100mn investment in local content in SEE

By bne IntelliNews July 21, 2018

Telecoms and media provider United Group, owned by US investment firm KKR and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), announced on July 21 it plans to invest €100mn in local content production in Serbia, Slovenia, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Croatia.

The company has increased the percentage of owned content on its channels from 5% to 30% in five years.

 “In the era of global media players such as Netflix, local audiences still value shows and movies that reflect their lives and experiences. United Group’s plan to invest €100m in local content is a show of faith in the network of local talent including producers, actors and musicians. I am excited to see what more the region has to offer,” chairman of the advisory board, Dragan Solak, said.

Over the last year, United Group has produced content including popular dramas, talent shows and children’s programmes.

Plans for further content investment include commissioning new screenplays, series and other local productions, the company said in a statement.

United Group is expected to complete the acquisition of Nova TV in Croatia from Czech Republic-based broadcaster Central European Media Enterprises (CME) at the end of July, CME said on July 19. The acquisition will be made through Slovenia Broadband, a subsidiary of the United Group. The cash purchase price for Nova TV in Croatia is €85mn plus a working capital adjustment, which is still to be finalised, CME said.

In July, CME announced the divestiture of its leading Croatian and Slovenian TV stations to United Group's Slovenia Broadband for €230mn ($262.5mn) in cash to pay down debt.

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