Access granted to purchase Premium TV

Blavatnik group enters digital biz

NEW YORK -- Access Industries, the holdings group founded by billionaire Len Blavatnik, agreed Monday to acquire Premium TV, a U.K.-based digital services company whose clients include Warner Music Group, Turner Broadcasting and England's top soccer division, the Premier League.

Premium hosts more than 150 Web sites, more than 50 mobile sites and has more than 20 syndication partners. It bills itself as the "largest streamer of live events in Europe," providing access to more than 8,000 events each year with more than 100 million page views and 10 million unique visitors each month.

Terms of the deal -- expected to close at month's end -- were not disclosed, but published reports said the price tag exceeded $50 million.

"These are exciting times, both for the digital media sector and specifically for Premium TV," Premium CEO Oliver Slipper said. "In Access, we have a parent company who understands our vision and can help us become the world's leading digital service provider to the sports and entertainment sectors."

In addition to investments in the oil and aluminum industries, Access also has stakes in Warner Music, British TV network Top Up TV and Acision, a mobile messaging company.

According to Forbes, Blavatnik, a Russian-born industrialist, is worth an estimated $7 billion.

Premium, which is managed by Quest Turnaround Advisers, also signed a deal this month with U.K. cable company Virgin Media to broadcast British soccer matches on the Internet.
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