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Népszava: Eximbank lends Vajna money for TV2

Deals

Hungarian state-owned Eximbank on Friday voted to lend money to Andrew G. Vajna, government commissioner for the film industry, so that he can pay for the purchase of the countryʼs second largest commercial television  station TV2, Hungarian online daily nepszava.hu reported on Friday.

Rumors about Eximbank possibly lending HUF 20 bln to Vajna emerged at the end of October, nepszava.hu reported. At the time the bank declined to respond to nepszava.hu’s query on the issue, citing business privacy concerns.

At the end of October, Hungary’s Competition Office (GVH) approved the purchase by Magyar Broadcasting Co. – owned by Vajna –  of TV2 and CEE Broadcasting Ltd. But the approval of the acquisition “does not mean that GVH has assumed a position regarding the potential civil law dispute on the matter, adding that reaching a decision on such a dispute is up to the court,” Hungarian news agency MTI reported earlier.

Zsolt Simon and Yvonne Dederick, who bought TV2 group from Pro7Sat1 in 2013, announced they would be selling the channel to Vajna on October 15, hours before Károly Fonyó, a close business associate of Lajos Simicska, announced that he had acquired a pre-purchase option for the channel at the end of 2013, and bought it two days before on October 13. Yvonne and Simon refuted Fonyó’s claims, and Pro7Sat1 said they would have had a veto right on such a deal, while Vajna said he only knew he “bought” the TV channel but “anything could happen”.

Fonyó’s lawyer said last week that Fonyó had paid for the channel, therefore he is the rightful owner. Fonyó said earlier that he expects a legal battle to be launched for the TV channel.

When Vajnaʼs purchase of the channel was announced, speculation arose that he would air governing Fidesz-friendly news. Vajna denied any such claims.

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