• European authorities give nod to Nordic pay TV merger
  • 50/50 JV combines assets from Telenor’s Canal Digital and NENT’s Viasat consumer
  • Tie-up expected to offer savings of $66 million from 2022


NENT: Set to own 50% of new JV with Telenor

The European Commission has given the thumbs-up to the proposed merger between Canal Digital, Telenor Group’s satellite pay-TV business, and Viasat Consumer, which is owned by NENT.

The joint venture, which was announced in October, will provide an open platform offering content from multiple providers, as well as serving as a distribution partner for NENT’s Viasat pay-TV channels, which are to be rebranded as V from June.

The new company, which will be 50/50 owned by NENT and Telenor, will reveal its new name and branding once the merger is completed. It will have headquarters in both Stockholm and Oslo, the companies said in a statement.

Anders Jensen, NENT Group president and CEO: “We are delighted to receive the European Commission’s approval for this game-changing joint venture. The business and customer rationales are compelling. We are creating a large-scale player that can compete on a Nordic level, make sustained investments in content and technology, deliver even better combined customer offerings, and generate substantial revenue and cost synergies.

“Our talented Viasat Consumer employees can now look forward to joining forces with the Canal Digital team at the new company, while NENT Group will be able to focus even more on the expansion of our fast-growing Viaplay streaming service. Such innovative partnerships are the way forward for the more traditional parts of our industry, especially at times of acute change such as today.”

The tie-up is expected to yield annual cost synergies of around $66 million from 2022. It will also offer Viasat Pay TV and Telenor significant upselling and cross-selling opportunities.

Integration and other related costs are expected to total approximately SEK 900 million and arise primarily from the migration of Viasat Consumer’s subscriber base to the Telenor Satellite platform. These costs are expected to be incurred during 2020 and 2021 and will be reported in the financials of the new joint venture.

Gabriel Catrina, NENT Group chief financial officer: “The need for consolidation in the Nordic satellite pay-TV market has been clear for some time. This joint venture will create significant value both for customers and owners, while changing NENT Group’s financial profile and further accelerating the growth of Viaplay. It has the potential to become a model for similar partnerships in other parts of the industry.”

The approval comes in the same week that NENT announced a rebranding of its UK business.

The leadership team of the new company will be:

  • Bjørn Ivar Moen, chief executive officer (currently chief executive officer of Canal Digital and Telenor Broadcast)
  • Jonas Gustafsson, chief financial officer and head of operations (currently chief executive officer of Viasat Consumer)
  • Mahmoud Mustapha, chief commercial officer
  • Anna Pradzynska, chief marketing officer
  • Jon Espen Nergård, chief technology officer
  • Michael Bärlin, chief content acquisition officer
  • Elisabeth Monrad-Hansen, chief people officer
  • Helge Olav Bergan, chief legal officer