Time Warner Goes Euro, Buys CME Stake

Time Warner has gone old-school of sorts--buying a stake in CME, the 15-year old broadcasting company with interests in Central and Eastern Europe. Time Warner's investment comes to $241.5 million--or a 31% interest in CME, Central European Media Enterprises. For that investment, Time Warner also gets to place two members on CME's board of directors.

As part of the deal, Warner Bros. and CME have also announced a partnership to launch more TV channels in the region. Time Warner has said for some time that it wants to expand its international TV channel business.

The good news for Time Warner is that it is buying the company at near its historically low stock price--$7.50--around eight times cash flow (earnings before interest taxes, depreciation, and amortization). CME, like most other broadcasters around the world, has been hurt by slowing ad revenues.

CME broadcasters go to 22 countries, including stations in Bulgaria (TV2 and Ring TV), Croatia (Nova TV); Czech TV (TV Nova, Nova Cinema and NovaSport); Romania (Pro TV and Pro TV International, Acasa, Pro Cinema, Sport.ro and MTV Romania); Slovakia (Markiza), Slovenia (Pop TV, Kanal A) and Ukraine (Studio 1+1 International and Kino).

CMEs's European footprint covers 97 million people. CME was started in 1994 by Ronald Lauder, its chairman.

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