Slovenia’s Planet TV Sold to Hungarian Owner Linked with Orban

By , 30 Jun 2020, 13:15 PM Business

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STA, 30 June 2020 - The state-owned telecoms company Telekom Slovenije has reportedly sold its troubled subsidiary Planet TV to the Hungarian free-to-air channel TV2, owned by Jozsef Vida, whom media associate with the business network of the Hungarian ruling party Fidesz.

The unofficial news was broken on Tuesday by the editor of the news portal Požareport, Bojan Požar, who wrote that Planet TV, which produces the eponymous TV channel, has been sold for EUR 5 million, with the transaction still outstanding.

Telekom Slovenije, which launched Planet TV in 2012 under the then Janez Janša government, has not confirmed or denied the report.

Speculation that Hungary's TV2 was eyeing Planet TV started in early June, when reports also mentioned Croatian entrepreneur Ivan Ćaleta as a second candidate.

It was reported that the telecoms incumbent had been looking for a strategic partner which would buy a 49% share in the TV production company already at the beginning of January, only to change its mind later on.

According to the newspaper Delo, Planet TV has cost Telekom Slovenije EUR 80 million in the form of capital injections, advertisements, loans and other services since it was launched in September 2012, and has operated in the red all the time.

The latest blow was the Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce ordering Telekom last year to pay a EUR 23 million buyout to Antenna Group, the Greek partner who wanted out of the joint venture.

The telco, which thus became the sole owner of Planet TV, saw the buyout significantly reduce its profit last year, which reached a mere EUR 1.2 million.

After initially announcing the search for a strategic partner, Telekom Slovenije said in mid-March that selling the outright stake in Planet TV was also an option.

Planet TV was established by Telekom Slovenije at the time of Janša's 2012-13 government. Telekom also owns news web portal, which got a new editor-in-chief after Janša became PM again in March.

Hungarian ownership is meanwhile presently involved in two Slovenian media outlets associated with Janša's Democrats (SDS) - the weekly paper Demokracija and the NovaTV web portal and TV channel.

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