Suomen Urheilutelevisio Oy's principal shareholders, MTV Oy and SWelcom Oy have today undersigned a letter of intent with Avanti Broadcasting Oy by which MTV Oy will sell 30.1% and SWelcom Oy 15.1% of Suomen Urheilutelevisio shares to Avanti Broadcasting whose principal shareholder is Mr. Jorma Terentjeff and the other shareholders are Mr. Harry Harkimo, Ari Mennander and Tapani Yli-Saunamäki. After the transaction, the ownership structure of Suomen Urheilutelevisio will be as follows:
Avanti Broadcasting Oy 45.2 %
MTV Oy 19.9 %
SWelcom Oy 19.9 %
Oy Veikkaus Ab 10.0 %
SLU 4.0 %
Suomen Hippos ry 1.0 %
According to the agreement, the new owner can appoint three members on the Board of Directors of the company, one of them to serve as Chairman. The existing shareholders will retain the majority of the share capital of Urheilutelevisio and in total four Board seats. The final agreements will be undersigned by the end of August.
Last August, Suomen Urheilutelevisio launched a digital channel, Urheilukanava, dedicated to sports. Today the channel can be viewed with digital equipment and also through cable-TV network in nearly one million households. Mr. Mikko Räisänen, Board member of the company, mentions that the channel, which has now been operative for ten months, has started positively and its program offering has rapidly grown to respond to the requirements of Finnish sports enthusiasts. The interest shown by the new owner is another indication of the positive development. Mr. Räisänen finds it very positive that the new owner will strengthen the contacts of the company with Finnish and international interest groups active in sporting circles, and contribute new resources and innovations to the further development of the company. At the same time, the Finnish TV media will get an increasingly pluralistic image.
Avanti Broadcasting's principal shareholder and Board Chairman Mr. Jorma Terentjeff estimates that Finland, too, needs a specialized sports TV channel. "I am convinced that sports offers just the content required to guarantee the success of digital television."
According to Mr. Terentjeff, Urheilukanava has got off to a good start in the hands of its strong and competent background forces. These parties that launched the channel will continue contributing resources to Urheilukanava together with the new owners. "I'm for instance anticipating with interest the new (pools) games currently being developed by Veikkaus", he mentions. "These games are scheduled to become available to consumers in two years from now."