Modern Times sells stake in TV4 Sweden

Move could presage investment in SBS Broadcasting

AMSTERDAM — Scandinavian media company Modern Times Group has sold off 5% of its 20.1% stake in commercial web TV4 Sweden in a move widely seen as part of an effort to build a war chest for future expansion.

The sale coincides with reports that pan-European group SBS Broadcasting, which has channels across Sweden, Norway and Denmark, has asked an unnamed investor to evaluate its Nordic properties for possible sale.

MTG will receive 200 million Swedish kroner ($19.5 million) from the sale of one million shares in TV4, leaving its remaining shareholding at three million shares.

MTG, which owns a raft of pay TV channels in the Nordic and Baltic states, was spun off from Swedish parent Kinnevik five years ago, but it is still largely controlled by Kinnevik.

“Something is cooking,” Peter Dahlander, an analyst with the Stockholm-based Carnegie investment bank, said. “(Kinnevik) don’t get rid of stakes in companies so easily, not unless they are getting ready to invest in something else.”