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(E) Croatian TV for sale or partnership - Forbes Magazine
By Nenad N. Bach | Published  12/7/2003 | Business | Unrated
(E) Croatian TV for sale or partnership - Forbes Magazine


Croatian TV for sale or partnership - Forbes Magazine

Murdoch, Lauder bid for private Croatian TV channel
Reuters, 12.04.03, 7:20 AM ET

ZAGREB, Dec 4 (Reuters) - Croatia's only private TV station with a national broadcasting concession is in strategic partnership talks with several world-wide media conglomerates, its chief executive, Ivan Blazicko, said on Thursday.

Nova TV's shareholders are in talks with Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.<NCP.AX> (nyse: NWS - news - people), U.S. businessman Ronald Lauder's Central European Media Enterprises (nasdaq: NWS - news - people) and several other foreign media companies, Blazicko told Reuters.

"Nova TV is not for sale," he said. "All interested parties we've talked to are potential strategic partners, not buyers" he added, but declined to name potential investors other than the two singled out by the local media.

Both News Corp and CME had run unsuccesfully in the race for the state television's third channel, which was sold to Germany's RTL <AUDKt.BR> in September. RTL plans to launch its programming under the name HRTL early next year.

"This will significantly change the situation on the market and a lot will have to be invested into Nova TV," Damir Vujinovic, one of Nova TV's directors, recently said.

Nova TV's viewer rating has significantly increased in the last few months, after it launched a music contest for local wannabe singers, which has since developped a devout following in the country of 4.4 million people.

According to local media speculation, the starting price for the station was put at between 20 and 25 million euros ($30 and million), but Blazicko said that was far too low.

"We invest between 10 and 12 million euros per year in programming alone," he said.

RTL has pledged to invest some 30 million euros in marketing and programming in the first year, and market insiders say the new owner of Nova TV would have to do the same if it wished to remain competitive.

Copyright 2003, Reuters News Service

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