MTG offloads Swedish cable operation

Jorgen Madsen LindemannThe Modern Times Group has sold its stake in Swedish cable TV business Sappa to Finnish telco Anvia for SEK135 million (US$16.8 million).

Sappa delivers packages of channels to 350,000 homes in Sweden. Originally known as Svensk Program Agentur (SPA), it was created in 1994 following the merger of several local cable operators. MTG bought into the business in 1999 and it changed its name to Sappa in 2010.

Anvia, Finland’s fourth-largest telco, has acquired full control of the business, buying the other 50% stake from SPA Holdings.

In Sweden, MTG has been reorganising its business, but CEO Jørgen Madsen Lindemann (pictured) said the Sappa sale came about as it was no longer regarded a core business.

We have been a proud partner in Sappa for over fifteen years, during which the company has gone from strength to strength,” he said. “The TV distribution market has changed substantially during this time and we are focused on the provision of entertainment rather than the development of network infrastructure.”

Sappa generated revenue of SEK248 million and an operating profit SEK15.7 million.

The divestment is the second from MTG in less than a week after it sold two Hungarian Viasat channels to Sony for an undisclosed sum.

The company has also been an active acquirer in recent times, buying Nice Entertainment, DRG and the Trace channels group.