Modern Times Group to Split Off Nordic TV Operations

Weeks after falling out of its merger with Danish Telecoms, Scandinavian conglomerate Modern Times Group is set to split off its TV operations, including MTG Studios and Splay Networks, into a separate entity, Nordic Entertainment Group.

The initiative was decided on by MTG’s board of directors Friday, just over a month after TDC Group backed off from its bid to acquire the Nordic TV business of MTG (which is now being split off) in a deal valued at €2 billion ($2.4 billion).

The board has now opted to have MTG’s non-TV related operations, such as e-sports (ESL, DreamHack, ESEA) and digital video content (Zoomin.TV, Engage Digital Partners) regrouped under the Modern Times Group banner.

The two entities, MTG and Nordic Entertainment Group, will be listed separately on the Stockholm stock market. The board said it will propose the listing and distribution of Nordic Entertainment Group’s shares during the second half of this year.

MTG will still be presided over by Jørgen Madsen Lindemann, while Maria Redin will continue as MTG’s chief financial officer. Lindemann said MTG will be “the only publicly traded, pure-play e-sports, online gaming and digital video content company in the Western hemisphere.”

Anders Jensen, who is currently MTG executive vice president and CEO of Nordic Entertainment, will become president and CEO of the new Nordic Entertainment Group, which encompasses the TV channel TV3, the satellite TV platform Viasat and the streaming service Viaplay, as well as the production outfit Nice Entertainment and the distribution banner DRG. The banner’s original drama credits include “Veni Vidi Vici” (pictured), “Black Lake” and “Swedish Dicks.”

David Chance, MTG chairman, said the time was right “to initiate a split of MTG into two separate and listed companies, in order to maximize the focus and potential of each group for the benefit of owners, customers and employees.”

Chance said the company “has successfully transformed from a traditional national broadcaster into a global digital entertainer [and] has developed into a fully integrated broadcasting, digital communication and content-production company in the Nordic region.”

One of MTG’s biggest achievements, Chance said, is to have led e-sports into the “global mainstream” and to have created “video content that generates billions of views around the world.”

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