United Group agrees takeover of Nova parent Forthnet
BC Partners, the London-based private equity firm, has agreed to acquire Forthnet, the parent company of Greek pay-television broadcaster Nova, through United Group, its telecoms and media company operating in the Balkans.
BC had been in exclusive negotiations with Forthnet's creditors (National Bank of Greece, Alpha Bank, Piraeus Bank and Attica Bank) for the past month.
United Group will acquire all of the company’s loan obligations, the convertible debt and an initial 36 per cent of the company’s shares.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Victoriya Boklag, chief executive of United Group, said: “We are pleased that Forthnet will be joining United Group and I’m excited that we continue to strengthen our business and provide our customers across the region with a broad range of cutting-edge services. We see significant opportunity to work with Forthnet to drive growth in pay-TV services and to launch into the mobile phone market and are pleased to be expanding our reach into the Greek market.”
Forthnet’s chief executive Panos Papadopoulos added: “The entry of United Group, the region’s leading multi-play telecommunications and media provider, confirms Forthnet’s strategic value and gives new perspectives to our company.
"The significant growth in broadband and pay-TV markets where we are already active, and the potential of the mobile services that we are preparing to launch, creates a strong investment environment for us to take advantage of and benefit from the know-how and experience of United Group’s management, network and technology.”
In March, Alter Ego, the Greek media company owned by shipping magnate Evangelos Marinakis, owner of domestic soccer giants Olympiakos, ended its interest in Forthnet after failing to secure the necessary funding from three banks because of the associated debt levels at Forthnet.
Nova holds broadcast rights to eight of the 12 Greek Super League teams, as well as other top properties including the competitions of Euroleague Basketball and the Wimbledon tennis championships.
BC Partners bought a minority stake in United Group in November 2018 and took control of the business last year in a deal worth €2.6 billion ($2.9 billion).