Competition office approves Vajna’s purchase of TV2

Competition

Hungary’s Competition Office (GVH) approved the purchase by Magyar Broadcasting Co. – owned by government commissioner for the film industry Andrew G. Vajna – of Hungary’s second largest commercial television channel TV2 and CEE Broadcasting Ltd., the competition office told Hungarian news agency MTI today.

Vajna’s company submitted a request to GVH on October 16 to clear the acquisition of companies operating commercial broadcaster TV2. 

Concerns regarding the increase in concentration did not arise in Vajna’s case, during the competition officeʼs evaluation, as the Vajna group, which primarily operates casinos and distributes films, performs different activities than the TV2-CEE group, MTI cited GVH.

GVH did note, however, that 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,” MTI reported.

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 earlier this 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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