Platform has 300,000 subscribers
WARSAW TVN, one of Poland’s top two private broadcasters, has bought a 25% stake plus one share in Neovision, the owner of the Polish digital TV platform known as N.Neovision is owned by the ITI Group, a Luxembourg-registered media and entertainment conglom, whose portfolio also includes a majority stake in TVN. TVN paid E95 million ($148 million) for the shares, and has the option to increase the stake to 51% after three years. The shares came with approximately $54 million in debt, as the web is a loss-making enterprise. The market responded with a 9.3% fall in TVN’s stock price, as a number of analysts questioned the stake’s worth. The transaction puts the value of N at $590 million, roughly one third of the value of Poland’s largest digital platform, the recently listed Cyfrowy Polsat. Cyfrowy Polsat has seven times the number of subscribers as N — 2.2 million compared with 300,000. Market analysts, such as Merrill Lynch’s Tom Chadwick and Mariya Rubanovskaya, have questioned why TVN made this direct investment in N, when both companies are owned by the same conglom. Piotr Walter, TVN’s president, claimed that the transaction will allow more efficient negotiations with content providers. Commenting on the value of the purchase, ITI Group’s president, Wojciech Kostrzewa, said that N is the leader in the promising high-definition broadcast market, which makes it an attractive buy.