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State Finally to sell Stake in Antenna

The State Privatization and Holding Rt (APV) announced last Friday that it will sell its stake in broadcaster Antenna Hungaria Rt.

The APV attempted to sell its Antenna package back in 2000, but unfavorable market conditions forced the postponement of the sale.

On the block is a stake of 75% plus one vote. According to the ÁPV, the transaction should be concluded by the middle of 2005.

In July this year, Czech broadcaster and telecom Ceske Radiokomunikace a.s. (CRa) became the first company to publicly declare an interest in acquiring Antenna through the privatization.

According to press speculation, there are four other strategic investors expressing an interest in the company: Telediffusion de France SA, Portugal Telecom SA, Spain’s Retevision SA, and Italian Telespazio S.p.A.

In addition, press reports say the management of venture capital fund Advent International has expressed an interest.

Antenna initially listed on the Budapest Stock Exchange Rt (BET) in 1992, with a 92.5% stake remaining in state hands. The APV subsequently sold Antenna shares in 1994 for compensation coupons, reducing its holding to 83.2%.

In 2000, the APV was set to part with 50% of Antenna plus one vote, a deal that would have included a Ft 9.5 billion (€38.6 million) capital increase. The sell-off attempt failed.

(BBJ 01.xi.04)

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