The European Commission has approved the proposed acquisition of U.S. company Central European Media Enterprises by a Czech company.
The PPF investment group is owned by Petr Kellner, the richest man in the Czech Republic who has alleged links to China.
The deal will give him a media empire in five EU countries: the Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Slovenia.
Its channels include rating market leaders ProTV in Romania and bTV in Bulgaria which reach an audience of 97 million people, according to U.S Republican Senator Marco Rubio who in February opposed the sale saying the company was a proxy for China and its “malign activities abroad.”
The deal is reportedly worth $2.1 billion according to Broadband News.
„Following the European Commission’s clearance of the PPF Group merger with CME, all required regulatory approvals needed to close the previously announced transaction have been received. Accordingly, completion of the transaction is expected to occur on October 13, 2020,” CME announced on Tuesday.
Another company owned by the businessman, Home Credit, financed a pro-Chinese campaign in the Czech Republic, EURACTIV.cz reported last year.
The report said that PR agency hired by loan company Home Credit established a network of politicians, experts and journalists to influence public opinion in favor of China.
Aktuálně.cz however reported that not everyone involved was aware they were part of a pro-Chinese network.