November 22, 2017 / 9:08 AM / a year ago

China's CEFC, Penta team up for Time Warner's Central European Media - sources

PRAGUE/LONDON, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Chinese energy and investment group CEFC has teamed up with Czech-Slovak financial group Penta Investments to buy Time Warner’s Central European Media Enterprises, three sources familiar with the matter said.

One of the sources said privately-held CEFC is leading the consortium and is expected to provide the bulk of the financing for the deal which is worth about 500 million euros ($587.60 million). The company’s market capitalisation is $623 million.

CME operates in six central and eastern European markets, with the Czech Republic and Romania being its biggest profit drivers.

Time Warner has a 46.5 percent voting share in CME but on a fully diluted basis, the U.S. group has a 75 percent interest in CME, based on warrants exercisable until May 2018.

A potential sale has come into the picture after AT&T agreed to take over Time Warner, agreed in October last year.

Penta declined to comment. It has already invested in print and online media in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

A spokeswoman for CEFC, which has previously bought a Prague office building from Penta and has several other Czech assets, did not respond to a Reuters request for comment. CEFC had briefly held a stake in another Czech publisher and TV broadcaster, Empresa Media.

A Time Warner spokesman declined to comment. ($1 = 0.8498 euros) (Reporting by Kane Wu in Hong Kong, Pamela Barbaglia in London, Jan Lopatka and Robert Muller in Prague, Jessica Toonkel in New York; Editing Louise Heavens)

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