MTG has signed an agreement to sell its Hungarian free-TV operations, comprising the channels Viasat3 and Viasat6 and the catch-up service Viasat Play, to Sony Pictures Television (SPT) Networks for an undisclosed cash consideration.

The two channels will expand the current portfolio of SPT brands in Hungary, which already includes the AXN, AXN White and AXN Black linear channels as well as two digital services: AXN Now and AXN Player. The completion of the transaction will be subject to Hungarian regulatory approval.

“This deal clearly strengthens SPT Networks’ position in the Central European market and we are focused on further growing our business over the coming year, building on the considerable success our channels and digital services have already had,” said Lyle Stewart, SVP, SPT Networks, CEEMA.

John Rossiter, general manager, SPT Networks, Central Europe, said: “This acquisition is a big milestone in our plans to boost SPT Networks’ audience share in Hungary and across the CE region as a whole, allowing us to establish multiple strong brands in the market. The Viasat channels stand for high quality programming and make a great addition to our existing portfolio.”

The main channel Viasat3 was launched in 2000, when MTG acquired a majority stake in the Budapest based TV-channel Alfa TV. Viasat6 was launched in 2008 and is skewed towards a younger and male oriented audience. Viasat Play was launched in 2010. Both Viasat3 and Viasat6 are available on third party cable, DTH satellite and IPTV networks in Hungary.

MTG’s pay-TV channels Viasat Explore, Viasat History and Viasat Nature, are not part of the agreement, and will continue to be available to viewers in Hungary through a variety of distributors.

“Our Hungarian channels were our first free-TV operations to be launched outside Scandinavia and the Baltics. We are proud of what has been achieved by the Hungarian team and are confident that the new owner will achieve further success with the business. We are focusing our European Free-TV Emerging Markets business on our scale and leading media houses in the Baltics, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic,” said Jørgen Madsen Lindemann, MTG president and CEO