FOX deal takes Antenna to Serbia

Greece’s Antenna group, which owns ANT1 TV, has agreed to buy a 49 percent stake in Serbia’s FOX Televizija from Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation for an undisclosed amount, the Greek company said yesterday. «It is the only television station not held by Serbian interests that received a license from the state broadcasting agency in 2006 and it has shown rapid growth in the last two years,» said Theodoros Kyriakou, CEO of Antenna group, in a statement. «At this moment [FOX] is a very successful commercial station with a 9 percent share of viewers in an area with exceptional economic growth prospects.» Financial details were not disclosed but Serbian media were reporting yesterday that Antenna has agreed to buy Serbia’s FOX for 1 dollar and will assume all of its debts. No amounts were reported. Serbian daily Blic said Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou helped close the deal for Antenna by arranging a meeting between Serbian President Boris Tadic and Kyriakou. Tadic vouched that the television station will not have any problems in obtaining a broadcasting license from regulatory authorities under new ownership, the newspaper said. The deal is subject to approval from competition regulators and has been given the green light from the country’s broadcasting agency. Murdoch, who has also sold television stations in Romania and Latvia, has been pulling out of Eastern Europe and is targeting investments in cable satellite systems, Blic added.

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