Revenue Up, Profit Down at Scandinavian TV Giant Modern Times Group

MTG has gone on a buying spree this year, acquiring Finnish production firm Nice Entertainment, UK rights banner DRG and Norwegian format group Novemberfilm.

BERLIN – Swedish-based pan-European broadcaster Modern Times Group (MTG) has posted across-the-board sales growth for its third quarter even as profits dipped amid a rapid expansion that has included multiple big-name acquisitions.

Net sales for the third quarter jumped 9 percent $4.4 billion (SEK 3.2 billion) with growth strongest in MTG’s operations in Eastern Europe, where year-on-year sales climbed 24 percent. Pay-TV operations in the Nordic region posted strong 7 percent year-on-year growth, driven by good uptake for MTG’s online service Viaplay and higher revenues from its premium satellite services but Scandinavian free-TV was mostly flat, with sales just 1 percent up over the same period in 2012.

STORY: Modern Times Group to Acquire Finland's Nice Entertainment in $114 Million Deal

Net income dropped $153 million to $269 million (SEK 196 million) year-on-year as MTG continued its global expansion and European shopping spree. The company outbid international players to acquire Scandinavian production outfit Nice Entertainment Group for $114 million and has recently taken majority stakes in U.K. independent TV rights distribution banner Digital Rights Group (DRG) and Norwegian format group Novemberfilm.

MTG is also expanding its footprint, with upcoming launches of new free-TV channels in Norway and Tanzania, the latter marking the company’s first entry into the African market.

CEO Jorgen Madsen Lindemann has made it clear MTG is not done growing and that future acquisitions, particularly in the content and digital distribution business, are in the cards.