CME buys Bulgarian web

It lays out $400 million for News Corp.'s bTV

Ronald Lauder’s Central European Media Enterprises is acquiring News Corp.’s bTV, Bulgaria’s free-to-air commercial TV channel, as well as the bTV Cinema and bTV Comedy cable channels and 74% of its radio company, in a $400 million deal.

Transaction, which must be approved by the Bulgarian Competition Commission, is expected to close in the second quarter of 2010.

The selling price is subject to adjustment in the event that actual working capital at completion differs from an agreed level of target working capital.

“The acquisition of bTV is the next step in repositioning CME after the sale of our Ukrainian operations,” said CME prexy-CEO Adrian Sarbu.

CME will also acquire Top Tone Holdings’ 20% interest in CME’s Bulgaria-based Pro.BG news and entertainment web for a 6% interest in a new subsidiary that will hold bTV and Pro.BG. Deal is expected to close at the same time as the bTV deal.

CME operates broadcasting, Internet and TV content businesses in Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine and is traded on the Nasdaq and Prague Stock Exchange.

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