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TV2’s new ownership contested

October 20th, 2015

As two rival tycoons claim to have bought Hungary’s number two commercial television company, analysts tried to disentangle the legal maze surrounding the matter.

As soon as Hungarian American film producer Andy G. Vajna (who supervises public subsidies to filmmaking in Hungary in his capacity as government commissioner and runs the larger of two domestic casino networks) announced the acquisition of TV2, he was promptly contradicted by an associate of Lajos Simicska, Fidesz’s former treasurer. Mr Simicska has been in a state of war with his former firend Prime Minister Viktor Orbán for at least the past 12 months (See Budapost 2014 through 2015). Károly Fonyó, who runs several media enterprises within the ‘Simicska empire’ said he had bought TV2 two days before the announcement and fired the two managers who had sold it to Mr Vajna. In practice, however, the two still run the station.

HVG thinks Mr Simicska’s people must have secured themselves an option to buy TV2 when it was sold by the previous German owner — nominally to the two managers (who at the time were considered Mr Simicska’s pawns). Meanwhile, the weekly suspects, the two have reorganised the complicated legal structure of the enterprise in a way to practically exclude Mr Simicska’s people from it. In any case, HVG remarks, the sale comes into effect only when it is approved by the anti-trust authority.

Világgazdaság believes that the real winner will be the channel’s main competitor, RTL Klub, which is already the most viewed TV channel in Hungary. Advertisers will be probably diverted from TV2 towards RTL as a safer client. In another remark, the business daily argues that lawyers will also be among the winners because the complicated matter will give them lucrative jobs for several years to come.


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