Bulgarian antitrust commission allows TV channel acquisition

By Pavlina Jeleva
    The New Bulgarian Media Group Holding (NBMGH) owned by the former head of the Bulgarian State Lottery Irena Krusteva has been allowed to acquire cable operator Balkan Bulgarian Television (BBT) (www.bbt.tv).

    The antitrust commission (www.cpc.bg) justified its decision based on a conclusion that "no change in the structure of the market" was to be expected. The deal, which was arranged between Krusteva and the former BBT owner Petar Mandjoukov earlier this year, therefore receives the necessary legal status.

    Having started to build and develop a media conglomerate in 2007, NBMGH is also the new owner of the TV7 channel (www.tv7.bg). National experts argue that the group exerted pressure to win national terrestrial broadcast of that channel in June, increasing its reach to 58 towns, including Sofia. Under previous management, and profiled as an intellectual channel, TV7 had been unable to secure terrestrial rights.

    NBMGH also owns an impressive range of important national newspapers. Its holding now consist of two TV channels, nine publishing media, and a large printing complex.