A man in the CME Group offices in New York, USA, 18 October 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
PRAGUE (Reuters) – Broadcaster Central European Media Enterprises (CME) said Monday that it has launched a review of strategic options, including possible sale of the company.
The announcement sent the company’s shares rising more than 8 percent on the U.S. Nasdaq stock exchange.
The group, majority owned by AT&T, works 30 tv channels in five central and eastern European markets and is cutting the debt burden in recent years. The net debt decreased to $765 million at the end of last year from $1.1 billion in 2017.
CME shares jumped 6.5 percent in Prague after it announced its review, to 86.3 crown, the highest since August 2018, and were up 8.1 percent on the Nasdaq.
“(Strategic alternatives) may include, among other things, the sale of all or a part of the company, a merger with another strategic partner, recapitalization, or continue to run at the CME’s long-term business plan,” the company said in a statement, adding it had AT&T’s support.
CME, with a market capitalization of $877 million at Friday’s close on the Nasdaq, has seen profits rise in recent years and has a forecast 10-12 per cent rise at constant prices in the core earnings or operating income before depreciation and amortization (OIBDA), this year of $222.7 million in 2018.
That has led analysts and investors to speculate and it can soon pay dividends or announce share repurchases.
CME said the review need not lead to a transaction, and there was no timetable for the process.
It said it had hired Allen & Company LLC and BofA Merrill Lynch financial advisors, and Covington & Burling LLP as legal advisor.
Reporting by Jan Wopatka; Editing by Susan Fenton