NOB moves to privatize

Pubcaster offloads broadcast companies to United

AMSTERDAM — Holland’s biggest state-owned technical facilities group, NOB, is selling a group of companies in its Broadcast Services Group for E70 million ($87 million), moving a step closer to fulfilling a government mandate to privatize.

United Broadcast Facilities, Holland’s No. 2 facilities company, expects to take over the NOB outfits — Cinevideogroep, NOB Decor, Belgian Videohouse, NOB Germany, NOB Hungary and a 25% stake in Dutch BTP — by September. None of the 450 employees will lose their jobs.

NOB also is hunting for buyers for three companies that for antitrust reasons could not be sold to United. TV recording and reprocessing companies DutchView, Ciris and CamCompany will be integrated into one group of full-service companies and sold separately.

NOB is under pressure from the Dutch Ministry of Finance to privatize, but it has run into stumbling blocks. It wants to integrate its Cross Media Facilities division, which houses digitization and multibroadcast facilities, into the public broadcasting system.

NOB was part of the Dutch pubcasting system until it split off as a separate state-owned org, and pubcasters argue they shouldn’t have to pay to bring it back into the fold.

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