Bidders lining up for TV2

Talks with prospective buyers to begin in January

AMSTERDAM — The Danish government confirmed Wednesday that eight bidders have applied for the license for its TV2 Danmark, one of the more lucrative commercial outfits in the Nordic territories.

The government has kept the names of the bidders and the conditions for the license under wraps, but Danish media conglom Egmont and Nordic media group Modern Times Group (MTG) have confirmed they are among the bidders.

TV4 in Sweden (majority owned by Bonnier), SBS Broadcasting and Orkla, a Norwegian media, food and chemical giant, are also understood to be among the bidders.

Danish minister of culture Brien Mikkelsen said talks with prospective buyers would begin in January.

The government wants to sell between 51% and 66% of its shares in the channel, a move that could net it $500,000 in income on the sale and save Danes from paying license fees. The company makes 70% of its income from advertising and another 30% from license fees.

Egmont, bidding with a local Danish newspaper group, is believed to be the favorite, but European law prevents the government from choosing Egmont solely because of its Danish roots.

TV2 is not just seen as interesting because of the revs it might churn, but also regionally. Egmont has a one-third interest in TV2 Norway, also a lucrative national commercial channel, and the Bonnier group owns majority shares in TV4 and, through parent group Alma Media, Finland’s national commercial channel MTV3.

The idea of a network grouping together these channels has been touted by the financial sector on more than one occasion, and the combined revs are projected at more than $1 billion annually.

TV2 Danmark, TV2 Norway, TV4 in Sweden and MTV3 all launched as an alternative to the public broadcasters as the first commercial channels with national reach in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

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