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December 29, 2009

Antenna Group Agrees to Buy News Corp's Serbian Stake Fox Televizija

By Jayashree Adkoli, TMCnet Contributor


ANTENNA Group, one of the Greek media groups reaching Greek-speaking audiences in all continents, reportedly announced that it has agreed to buy the 49 percent of News Corp.’s Serbian stake, Fox Televizija.
 
Fox Televizija is a commercial television network or television operator in Serbia. It broadcasts round-the-clock and also closely co-operates with News Corp (News - Alert) owned networks in other countries such as bTV in Bulgaria and Fox Turkey, thereby sharing production capabilities on specific projects.
 
Without revealing about the transaction’s value, Thodoris Kyriakou, CEO of Antenna Group, said in the release that Fox Televizija currently has a 9 percent share of television market in Serbia.
 
Officials with Antenna Group said that the company decided to expand into Serbia on the conviction that it is a rapidly developing television market.
 
Apart from daily broadcasts of Greek-shows, Antenna Group owns radio station in Athens. The group’s corporate and communicative flagship, called as ANT1 Television, was initiated in 2008. With the help of ANT1 Satellite and ANT1 Pacific, the company is able to transmit voice and images of Greece and Greek society’s everyday life to Europe, Australia and the Americas via a large satellite network.
 
As advertising revenue shrank, Antenna Group experienced an EBITDA loss of $37.5 million in the first half of 2009, according to a report by Standard & Poor. Moreover, Antenna also sold its Bulgarian unit Nova Televizia last year.
 
According to News Corporation, it has total assets of approximately $55 billion and total annual revenues of approximately $30 billion as of Sept. 30, 2009. It is a diversified global media company with operations in eight industry segments, namely filmed entertainment; television; cable network programming; direct broadcast satellite television; integrated marketing services; newspapers and information services; book publishing; and other. The activities of News Corporation are conducted in the U.S., Continental Europe, the U.K., Australia, Asia and Latin America.
 
According to sources, News Corp. was one of the five commercial groups that earned Serbia’s national broadcasting license in 2006. In August, it announced that it will restructure its Asian broadcast businesses into three units, namely STAR (News - Alert) India, STAR Greater China and Fox International Channels, wherein FIC will combine the English-language channels that were previously managed by STAR with the FOX and National Geographic brands for distribution in the rest of Asia.

Jayashree Adkoli is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Jayashree's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Erin Harrison



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