CENTRAL European Media Enterprises Ltd. (CME) on January 23 completed its acquisition of a controlling stake in Slovakia's most watched TV station, the private channel Markíza.
CME increased its stake in Markíza's broadcaster to 80 percent in the transaction. The company said the purchase price was $24.4 million (€20.6 million).
A deferred $5.1 million (€4.3 million) instalment of the purchase price is due May 31, 2006. With the acquisition, CME fulfils a long-term plan. "We expect better results from the acquisition of control over the operation of Markíza," said CME President Michael Garin.
The station was repeatedly criticized for biased reporting under the influence of its founder, Pavol Rusko, who used its news programmes to promote his ANO party and to attack political opponents. CME's takeover, which follows a buy-out of Rusko's stake, is expected to return balance to Markíza's programming, and aid problem-free approval of its application for license renewal.
Ján Kováčik and Milan Filo continue to hold minority stakes in Markíza.
Compiled by Marta Ďurianová from press reports
Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information
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