On 14 April 2008 GO announced that ForthNet, in which GO and its majority shareholder Emirates International Telecommunications Malta Limited (EITML) have a 21% shareholding, entered into a share purchase agreement to acquire the pay TV operator NetMed NV.
ForthNet announced on its website that the total consideration is equivalent to €490 million. NetMed, which trades under the name Nova, is the monopoly satellite provider of pay TV in Greece and Cyprus. The penetration of the pay-TV market in Greece stood at only 9% in 2007. As at 31 March 2007 NetMed had 346,000 subscribers.
ForthNet is proposing to fund this acquisition by way of a rights issue to its existing shareholders, through which it aims to raise up to €300 million, as well as long-term bank financing which has already been agreed to with a group of Greek banks.
ForthNet will also grant a right to those of its shareholders who exercised their rights to subscribe for additional shares which would have lapsed during the rights issue. GO and EITML have agreed to take up their rights entitlement and additionally have agreed to underwrite any shares not taken up by other shareholders. GO also announced that it shall only be liable to fund up to a maximum amount of €100 million.
The transaction is still subject to certain terms and conditions and regulatory approvals in Greece and Cyprus as well as the approval of ForthNet’s share capital increase by shareholders in an Extraordinary General Meeting.