US company CME buys Czech TV Nova for 642 million dollars

The US company Central European Media Enterprises (CME) has bought the Czech commercial television channel TV Nova for 642 million dollars in the largest direct US investment in the country. CME announced the deal on Monday and TV Nova's majority-stake owner, the financial group PPF, has confirmed the sale. CME previously held a stake in TV Nova but was involved in a long legal dispute with Nova's former general director Vladimir Zelezny, who is now a Czech MEP. Mr Zelezny eventually broke off all relations with CME and its head, the cosmetics heir Ronald Lauder, in 1999. The news of the sale comes two years after an international arbitration ruled that the Czech state had to pay nearly 360 million dollars in compensation to CME for failing to protect its investment in TV Nova.

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  • PM: only a miracle could avert the introduction of tighter measures


    Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has called on Czechs to pull together in order to avoid a disastrous coronavirus scenario in the country.

    In a video address released on Youtube the prime minister said the current figures were “catastrophic” and only a miracle could avert the introduction of stricter measures against the coronavirus.

    He said that in view of the growing number of infected elderly people and the rising death toll it was almost certain that further measures would have to be taken in the coming days.

    The prime minister said the health ministry would have to trace and test people faster, but noted that no government could win the battle against the coronavirus without public support, solidarity and cooperation.

    “I can make no promises, since I have no idea how this pandemic will evolve, the only light at the end of the tunnel is a vaccine,” Mr. Babiš concluded.

  • Weather forecast


    Monday should be partly cloudy to overcast with day temperatures between 9 and 13 degrees Celsius.

  • Letnany field hospital ready to take in patients


    The army has finished work on a field hospital in Letnany on the outskirts of Prague.

    The field hospital, with a capacity of 500 beds, was designed to treat less acute cases and patients on their way to recovery so that other hospitals can focus on serious cases of Covid infection and essential care.

    According to Health Minister Roman Prymula the hospital will start taking in patients when hospitals around the country reach their capacity limit, which is likely to happen around November 10.

  • Health minister: coronavirus measures may have to be tightened early next week


    Heath Minister Roman Prymula has warned that if the number of infected continues to grow at the start of next week, indicating that the current measures are not working, it will be essential to take the restrictions further.

    Speaking on Czech Television, Mr. Prymula said that the decisive data would be that released on Tuesday morning and he or his successor would have to take respective action.

    He said one possibility was to order employers to put staff on home office, since many people were still going to work daily, compared to the situation in the spring when employers introduced home office of their own volition.

  • Health minister says he is ready to resign as soon as successor is found


    Health Minister Roman Prymula says he is ready to resign as soon as there is a successor for the post.

    Speaking on Czech Television, Mr. Prymula said he felt he had done no wrong in attending a private meeting in a closed restaurant, but did not want the affair to be misused by those denying the severity of the epidemic.

    He said he would offer his successor whatever assistance was needed and wanted to remain part of the team fighting the virus.

    He denied having any political ambitions and said the coronavirus epidemic in the Czech Republic had become a political issue ahead of next year’s parliamentary elections.

  • Euro: company owned by health minister’s daughter received subsidy for sanitizers


    The Medimun company, which is controlled by the daughter of Health Minister Roman Prymula,  received a subsidy of more than 650,000 crowns from the Business and Innovation for Competitiveness Operational Program in August this year, according to the news site .

    The money was reportedly intended to buy technology for the production of sanitizers. writes that up until that time the company suffered losses and showed little activity.

    Neither the health minister nor his daughter have commented on the matter.

  • Coronavirus numbers hit new weekend record


    The Czech Republic registered 12,472 new Covid-19 infections on Saturday, a record weekend figure.

    154,000 people are currently fighting the infection, and the death toll now stands at 2077.

    Over 5,300 people are currently hospitalized with Covid-19, 772 of them in a serious condition.

    Prime Minister Andrej Babis has called on the nation to pull together to overcome the crisis, adding that the state of emergency which was put in place for a month will have to be extended due to the severity of the epidemic.

    He called on employers to allow home office wherever possible.

  • Czech coronavirus death toll in past week second highest in the world


    The number of coronavirus-related deaths in the Czech Republic has doubled in the past two weeks, according to Czech Health Ministry data.

    While on October 10 the country registered 1014 deaths per 100,000 people on March 24 it was 2047.

    Figures for the past week place the Czech Republic second in the world, after Andorra, in the number of corona-related deaths per capita, the New York Times writes.

    The number of overall deaths since the start of the pandemic in March rank the Czech Republic 46th in the number of deaths per 100,000 inhabitants.

  • Weather forecast


    Sunday should be clear to partly cloudy with day temperatures between 13 and 17 degrees Celsius.

  • Brussels assesses compliance with recommendations in EU audit on Babiš


    Brussels has sent Prague a new assessment pertaining to Prime Minister Andrej Babiš’s possible conflict of interest.

    According to the news site Neovlivní.cz, the European Commission remains convinced that this is so, despite Czech officials‘attempts to refute that claim.

    The current report now assesses the Czech Republic’s compliance with the recommendations made and whether they are sufficient, according to a source familiar with the document Neovlivni writes.

    The European Parliament adopted a resolution in June saying it is inadmissible for the Czech prime minister to partake in decisions on EU funds, while continuing to exert control over the multi-billion crown Agrofert conglomerate he founded, despite having placed it into trust funds.

    It concluded that the only solution is for the prime minister to sell his business interests, stop receiving any public subsidies including EU funds, or step down from office.

    The Czech prime minister maintains that he has no conflict of interest and fully complies with the Czech conflict of interest law.