MTG closes sale of Hungarian VIASAT free-TV channels to Sony

DetailsEditor | 11 February 2015

After spending the last year or so extending its reach and its asset base, leading Scandinavian pay-TV firm Modern Times Group (MTG) has now divested part of its portfolio in Hungary.

The company has revealed that it has signed an agreement to sell to Sony Pictures Television (SPT) Networks its Hungarian free-TV operations, comprising the VIASAT3 and VIASAT6 channels and the Viasat Play catch-up service.

VIASAT3 was launched in 2000, when MTG acquired a majority stake in the Budapest based TV-channel Alfa TV. Sister channel VIASAT6 was launched in 2008, targeted at a younger and male oriented audience while Viasat Play was launched in 2010. Both VIASAT3 and VIASAT6 are available on third party cable, DTH satellite and IPTV networks in Hungary.

MTG stressed that the Viasat Explore, Viasat History and Viasat Nature pay-TV channels 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," explained MTG president and CEO Jørgen Madsen Lindemann. "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."

The transaction is subject to regulatory approval by the Hungarian competition authority, and is expected to close during the second quarter of 2015.