Hungarian government film commissioner and gambling magnate Andy Vajna has contracted to purchase Hungary’s second-largest commercial television channel TV2, subject to approval by the Hungarian competition authority, writes weekly business magazine Figyelő.
In addition to being government commissioner for film, Vajna is also one of two individuals in Hungary licensed to operate casinos and online gambling operations. Closely linked to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and other high-ranking Fidesz politicians, the former Hollywood producer regularly attends high-profile government functions and Fidesz events, usually conspicuously underdressed.
Figyelő writes that Vajna has paid over HUF 20 billion (USD 72 million) for the private television broadcaster. Furthermore, he is to assume the company’s debts, which exceeded HUF 15.1 billion (USD 55 million) as of the end of 2014, including a HUF 7.9 billion (USD 29 million) loan received from a reportedly unrelated company in 2014.
Figyelő writes that the buyer, Magyar Broadcasting Co. Kft., is owned by AV Investments Kft., whose majority owner is Andy Vajna. The minority owner is Las Vegas-based Cinergi Pictures Entertainment Inc.
Figyelő further reports that the government is preparing to adopt a decree whereby cable distributors will be required to pay commercial channels for the right to distribute their channel to cable viewers. The news magazine calculates that this alone could be worth more than HUF 5 billion (USD 18 million) annually to TV2’s new owner.