Egyptian tycoon Naguib Sawiris has announced plans to sell off his 88-percent stake in the struggling European television news network, Euronews, to the Portuguese firm, Alpac Capital.
Although the deal amount has yet to be ascertained as of press time, Reuters reported that the investment firm Alpac Capital is interested in acquiring the majority stake in the business owned by the billionaire through his holding, Media Global Networks (MNG).
The remaining 12-percent stake in Euronews is expected to be controlled by a consortium of public and local media houses, including Abu Dhabi Media Investment Company and France Television.
The deal is expected to close in Q1 2022.
Euronews is a France-based multilingual news platform launched on Jan. 1, 1993, with a presence in about 160 countries. It is currently headquartered in Lyon, France.
The news platform used to be owned by a consortium of government-backed channels before the Egyptian tycoon acquired a majority stake. In 2015, Sawiris took over the company by acquiring a 53-percent stake in the firm. He consolidated his position by purchasing a further seven-percent stake in 2017 and an additional 28-percent stake in 2020, thereby raising his total equity position in the company to 88 percent.
However, the company has recently been plagued by poor financial performance. According to Reuters, the company’s total sales plunged by 23 percent year-on-year to 58 million euro, no thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. It also recorded a net loss of 16 million euro in the period.
Going forward, analysts predict that the company’s bottom-line will still be in red, although in a more moderate fashion. This was confirmed by the outgoing chairman, Michael Peters, who predicted that losses would be tempered in the current year to around 8 million euro.
In this context, the Egyptian billionaire declared his intention to divest from the loss-making company. He said: “My driving ambition has always been to see Euronews succeed. We invested in the media because we saw its potential and we were proven right. I am proud of the milestone accomplished and delighted that the work put in at all levels of the company are being recognized.”