Greek TV group to assemble war chest

LONDON — Greek company Antenna TV is looking to assemble a $3 billion war chest to fund a media spending spree in Europe, focusing primarily on U.K. companies.

Theodore Kyriakou, vice-chairman of Antenna, said last month that the group was eyeing investment opportunities in Europe, following the sale of Bulgarian channel Nova TV to Sweden’s Modern Times Group for Euros 628 million ($853 million).

He recruited Guillaume de Posch, former CEO of German broadcasting giant ProSiebenSat.1, last month to advise on potential acquisition targets.

Kyriakou has now told London-based Financial Times that Antenna — which is owned by his father, Minos Kyriakou — will leverage the proceeds of the Nova TV sale to create a far larger funding pool, and will target U.K. companies.

Kyriakou said: “In a terrible credit market, I suppose we would be thinking of a multiple of two, but if things were better perhaps we would go to three or even a bit higher, and so we are looking at between Euros 1.25 billion ($1.7 billion) and Euros 1.8 billion ($2.45 billion) of firepower.”

Including the coin realized by the sale of Nova, that would give Antenna TV in excess of $3 billion.

“We will be looking at a variety of assets across the broad spectrum of the media world and Europe,” he said.

Kyriakou said his main focus was on the acquisition of U.K. media companies. “This is the place to be,” he said. “This is where the best people are and where all the information we need and the help we need can be found.”

In the past, Kyriakou’s name has been linked to a possible bid for ITV, the battling U.K. terrestrial giant, whose stock price fell by more than 60% in the last year.

Kyriakou said Antenna was in no hurry to invest.

“We are not about to rush in anywhere, but will see what opportunities turn up in the next six to 18 months.

“At the moment, our strategy is to stay in cash for the next six months or so and then see what state the credit markets are in.”

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