Sweden’s Modern Times Group (MTG) is to acquire 75% of Africa-centric pay-TV operator Trace Partners SAS for €40 milllion (US$55 million).
The stake is being acquired from Citizen Capital, Entrepreneur Venture, NextStage, and the company’s management, the latter of which will retain the remaining 25% of the company.
Trace, a France-based youth media brand, has distribution agreements with third party network operators in 160 countries, including 55 African countries. The group operates three music TV channels and oversees a number of branded entertainment businesses as well as mobile and digital assets. At the end of December 2013, the company had 37 million paid subscribers.
The deal, which comes after MTG production arm MTG Studios acquired majority ownership of Nice Entertainment in November, is subject to regulatory approval from French media authorities. Trace co-founder Olivier Laouchez (pictured above) will continue as chairman and CEO, and other senior members will also stay on in their roles.
“We are just at the beginning of the mobile and digital revolutions,” said Laouchez in a statement. “In the coming five years, the media industry will dramatically change. MTG has the right set-up and vision to make Trace a leading and cool entertainment multimedia brand for the youth generation, worldwide.”
Joseph Hundah, exec VP of MTG’s African operations, added: “Trace is a cool and contemporary entertainment brand, and one of the leading youth brands in Africa. Trace has proven success with different formats around the world.
“It fits perfectly with what we are doing both in Africa and, more broadly, with both our linear and digital operations, as well as our content production houses. This deal is another key milestone in our international expansion and provides us with footholds from which we can expand even more in Europe, South America, Asia and francophone countries around the world.”