Telenor Group and Nordic Entertainment Group (NENT Group) have announced the formation of a new company that combines Canal Digital and Viasat Consumer (satellite pay-TV & broadband-TV operations). This will create a vibrant Nordic TV distribution business and capture synergies in a maturing direct-to-home (DTH) segment. Telenor and NENT Group will each hold 50% of the new company.
The company will be headquartered in both Oslo and Stockholm, and will also have a substantial presence in Copenhagen. The joint venture will operate at arm’s length to its parent companies. The Nordic consumer offering will focus on satellite distributed pay-TV (DTH) and streaming services, as well as IPTV on open fibre networks, and will continue to develop market-leading TV distribution services.
“The joint venture will combine the respective strengths of Canal Digital and Viasat Consumer, leveraging synergies for the benefit of our customers and shareholders. There is a compelling business rationale behind combining the DTH operations of Canal Digital and Viasat Consumer, with large synergies to be captured within areas including transponder capacity, IT and opex. The joint venture will use Telenor Satellite’s services on 1° west for DTH transmission, representing a solid foundation for Telenor Satellite’s broadcast operations,” says Jørgen C. Arentz Rostrup, CFO, Telenor Group.
“We are very happy to announce this game-changing joint venture with Telenor. Combining Viasat Consumer and Canal Digital makes perfect sense. We are creating a large-scale TV operator that will create sustainable value for customers and owners, and be able to compete with large scale regional and local competitors. We have achieved complete alignment of ownership interest through a 50/50 joint venture structure and a shared vision for brands, products and how to provide an even better consumer experience. This deal will drive significant shareholder value and it fits perfectly with our strategy to focus on the substantial opportunity we see in the fast-growing streaming sector. The new joint venture will be a major distribution partner for both our Viasat channels and Viaplay,” says Anders Jensen, President and CEO, NENT Group.
The Board of Directors for the joint venture will have equal representation from Telenor and NENT Group, with a rotating chairmanship. The CEO of the company will be Bjørn Ivar Moen (currently CEO of Canal Digital and Telenor Broadcast), and the CFO and Head of operations will be Jonas Gustafsson (currently CEO of Viasat Consumer). Other key management positions will be announced prior to the completion of the transaction. Telenor and NENT Group recognise that their employees are vital for the success of the joint venture and that the agreement is subject to customary consultations with the respective trade unions.
The joint venture is the latest in a series of measures Telenor is taking to address its business structures and core systems, in order to find and leverage strategic opportunities to modernise and optimise its customer offerings in next-generation networks.
The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to be completed during the first half of 2020.