MTG acquires French channels group Trace

February 25, 2014 08.02 Europe/London By Robert Briel

trace-tvModern Times Group (MTG) has signed an agreement to acquire 75% of Trace Partners, the France based youth media brand and global pay-TV channel operator.

Trace has distribution agreements with third-party network operators in 160 countries worldwide, including all 55 countries in Africa. The stake is being acquired from Citizen Capital, Entrepreneur Venture, NextStage, and company management, for a cash consideration that values 100% of the company at an enterprise value of EUR40.0 million.

Trace management will retain the remaining 25% of the company. Olivier Laouchez, Trace co-founder, will continue as chairman and CEO of Trace, and the other members of the senior management team will also continue in their roles.

Trace operates three music TV channels, Trace Urban, Trace Tropical and Trace Africa and the Trace Sports Stars sports celebrity lifestyle TV channel.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approval by the French media authorities and MTG will consolidate Trace’s results in the Group’s accounts with effect from the closing of the transaction.

“Trace is a cool and contemporary entertainment brand, and one of the leading youth brands in Africa. Trace has proven success with different formats around the world,” said Joseph Hundah, EVP of MTG’s African operations, commented:

“It fits perfectly with what we are doing both in Africa and, more broadly, with both our linear and digital operations, as well as our content production houses. This deal is another key milestone in our international expansion and provides us with footholds from which we can expand even more in Europe, South America, Asia and francophone countries around the world.”

“We look forward to welcoming Trace’s skilled and experienced management team to MTG. We will work together to further develop our successful brands and formats, and to continue to expand our businesses.”

Olivier Laouchez, Trace co-founder, chairman and CEO, commented: “We are just at the beginning of the mobile and digital revolutions. In the coming 5 years, the media industry will dramatically change. MTG has the right set-up and vision to make Trace a leading and cool entertainment multimedia brand for the youth generation, worldwide. We are extremely confident that the synergies, resources and opportunities provided by MTG and its great team will make us achieve this goal faster and better, while preserving Trace’s unique identity and entrepreneurial dynamics.”

“Trace’s development has followed a similar path and strategy to our own at MTG – the creation and nurturing of innovative local products that customers love and want more of, investment in the content offerings, the broadening of their availability, and then international expansion with equally strong local versions in high growth new markets,” added Jørgen Madsen Lindemann, president and CEO of MTG.

“Trace’s channels and platforms share the powerful affinity with audiences that we always look for. This acquisition is yet another example of our objective to shape the future of entertainment by expanding our content offering, our digital availability and our geographical footprint.”