Antenna Agrees Sale of Media Operations in Serbia and Montenegro, Following a Successful Business Expansion
Amsterdam, December 2018 — Antenna Group, the international media and entertainment organization, agreed to sell its television, digital, radio and content operations in Serbia and Montenegro to media entrepreneur Srdjan Milovanovic for €180 million, following a successful expansion of the business into the leading local media group by market share and audience reach.
Since acquiring a free-to-air Serbian network in 2009, Antenna Group has invested significantly in acquisitions and organic growth, expanding the business and consequently its market share in television advertising revenue from 4% to a leadership position. The success of Antenna’s financial discipline, insight and operational expertise ultimately resulted in significant value creation to its shareholders.
The business today incorporates the two-leading free-to-air television channels PRVA and O2TV and a complementary portfolio of six premium pay-television channels, four websites and one radio station in Serbia. It also owns and operates one leading national TV channel and a radio station in Montenegro.
“We are proud to have built the operations in Serbia and Montenegro into the number one television, digital, radio and content platform in those countries” said Theo Kyriakou, shareholder and Chairman of Antenna Group. “It also demonstrates the strength of our strategy to invest in exciting media and entertainment assets in high-growth markets across Europe, and drive growth by offering the best content via every possible distribution channel.”
The business invested heavily in high quality content as a competitive differentiator to match the changing consumer habits and expectations, becoming the undisputed local content leader and striking distribution deals with major telecommunications operators. 18 formats are produced in house for both free-to-air channels, with 4,000 hours of local content, such as high-quality crime drama series BESA, produced in house or commissioned per year.
“The combination of our very talented local team with thorough broadcast expertise, our execution of strong local multi-channel content platform strategy, and the investor-friendly governments of Serbia and Montenegro positioned Antenna for success in two of the region’s fastest-growing markets,” Mr Kyriakou continued. “We saw the market potential when we made our investment, and we still see it today. Europe’s media consumption habits are undergoing a significant transformation – this creates a unique opportunity to expand into new markets in media, content and distribution that we are excited to continue pursuing”.
Antenna has a bank of over 25 years’ experience operating in South and Eastern Europe and operates in 20 territories across Europe, North America and Australia. As it has accumulated deep insights into the local consumers’ mind set as well as the local industry and media culture, Antenna Group has established a firm track record of building leading businesses and delivering superior shareholder return. For example, the company acquired Nova Television Bulgaria for €13m in 2000 and sold it for €628m in 2008, representing one of the largest returns on investment ever achieved by a European media company. Through its investment arm, Antenna Group has also invested in some of the most successful global companies early on in their development including Facebook, Twitter and Spotify.
About Antenna Group:
Antenna Group is a fast-growing international media and entertainment organization with leading positions in South East Europe and operating in 20 territories across Europe, North America and Australia. Headquartered in Amsterdam and with offices in London, Athens and New York, the Group employs more than 2,600 staff.
Created in 1989, Antenna Group owns and operates a portfolio of media assets across a variety of technological platforms. The Group’s activities include: free-to-Air TV and pay TV channels, online and digital ventures, television production, radio stations, magazine publishing, music publishing and production, content distribution, education services and related content. Content and channels from Antenna Group are carried on networks including Time Warner Cable, DISH, Foxtel, Comcast and Unity Media.
The partnerships of Antenna Group, whose Amplifier unit partners with ambitious digital companies on high-growth opportunities in hard-to-reach markets in Europe, include a joint venture with Vice Media and Ariana Huffington’s Thrive Global. Antenna Group is also a strategic partner and investor in the New York-based merchant bank Raine Group, which gives it investment exposure to fast-growing companies in the U.S. and around the world, including Imagine Entertainment and Cheddar.
The company is privately owned by the Kyriakou family.