Czech investment firm PPF Group takes minority Viaplay stake


Czech investment outfit PPF Group has taken a 6.3% stake in Viaplay – the latest group following Canal+ to take advantage of the struggling Nordic streamer’s collapsing share price.

The move gives PPF a 6% voting stake in the Nordic company, which has been a key commissioner in the region, notably in scripted with shows including Danish crime drama Trom, Norwegian thriller Furia and Swedish drama Threesome.

Last month, Canal+ took advantage of Viaplay’s tumbling stock price to take a 12% stake in the operator. The Vivendi-owned French pay-TV outfit did not give further details about its plans for Viaplay, in which it is now the largest shareholder. Canal+ has in recent years pivoted towards international expansion both within Europe and further afield.

PPF, the owner of Central and Eastern European media group Central European Media Enterprises (CME), has been actively investing outside its core territory of late and has just struck a deal with global tech group e& to sell a majority stake in its non-Czech eastern European telecom assets to the UAE-based operator.

The group, owned by Czech billionaire Renáta Kellnerová, the widow of deceased investor Peter Kellner, now holds about 15% of Germany’s ProSiebenSat.1 either direct or via financial instruments. The outfit recently secured a place for CME executive Klara Brachtlova on the German broadcaster’s board.

The acquisition of stakes in Viaplay comes after the value of the company’s shares fell by about 85% following a series of announcements including a restructuring plan that involves withdrawal from key international markets and a 25% reduction in staff.

Viaplay has also indicated that it may be open to a sale of the whole group.

At the end of last year, institutional investors owned approximately 82% of the share capital, with Swedish private individuals owning approximately 10%. The biggest shareholders were Norges Bank, Nordea Funds, Handelsnanken Funds and Schroders.

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