MTG loses interest in Canal Digital
July 23, 2012 09.24 Europe/London By Julian Clover

Modern Times Group CEO Hans Holger Albrecht says it is no longer interested in a merger or takeover of Nordic DTH rival Canal Digital.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Albrecht said the company had “probably tried everything over the last ten years” to make a deal happen.

Both MTG’s Viasat and Telenor’s Canal Digital have continued to suffer subscriber erosion. In Q2 2012 Viasat reported 1,031,000 subscribers; Telenor is yet to report but had 955,000 subscribers at the end of March 2012.

Rather than court Telenor, Albrecht believes there is more opportunity in developing the OTT platform Viaplay.

“What I can sense is that the industry is changing faster now and more fundamentally so new platforms like Viaplay are the key future trend, so in my opinion Telenor has missed the opportunity to do something with the asset and we would rather move on to other fields,” he said.

In March 2011 Telenor launched a series of meetings under the cloak of Codename Rainbow, led by Telenor vice president Kristin Skogen Lund. The talks were believed to have also involved the Swedish Bonnier group and Denmark’s Egmont, suggesting that a much wider restructuring could be on the cards.

However, there has been no change to the ownership of either Viasat or Canal Digital.

Over the years there has been constant speculation as to the ownership direction of the two DTH platforms and it is entirely possible that Albrecht’s comments could represent nothing more than a negotiating tactic.