Bullish Bonnier buying big block of LNK

Nordic media group jumps into crowded Baltic space

AMSTERDAM — The Bonnier Group has taken a 54% stake in Lithuanian commercial market leader LNK, joining the rush of Nordic media groups to enter the lively Baltic states’ commercial TV market.

Bonnier bought up 44% of the channel from the Lithuanian Agricultural Bank and an additional 10% from Lithuanian investor Hubertas Grusnys. Bonnier also has an option to pick up the remaining 46% share, which is still owned by Grusnys.

Management of the channel will be in Bonnier’s hands.

“We plan to use the television expertise we have on tap to build up our Baltic connections,” Marieberg International’s CEO Lars Gusta Julin told Daily Variety, predicting Bonnier would be moving soon into other Baltic states.

Marieberg, a 100% subsidiary of Bonnier, has so far been responsible for buying up most of Bonnier’s TV stakes. They include direct and indirect ownership of some 40% of the shares in Swedish commercial market leader TV4 Sweden and a 23% stake in the Alma Media Group, the holding company for Finnish commercial market leader MTV3.

Major location

The Baltic states have become prime hunting ground for Nordic media players jockeying for position in the commercial TV marketplace.

Swedish media company Modern Times Group owns majority stakes in channels in all three Baltic states, while Norwegian media giant Schibsted has the majority stake in leading channel Kanal 2 in Estonia. Lithuania is considered the most promising of the Baltic markets for TV players.

Bonnier VP of communications Erik Mansson added the company’s strategy was to expand “across all territories which border the Baltic Sea” with all of the company’s platforms, both print and electronic.

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