RIGA - Global news giant News Corporation (News Corp) is holding discussions regarding the possible sale of the Latvian television channel Latvijas Neatkariga televizija (LNT), reports news agency LETA. Latvian businessman Valerijs Belokons, who owns the English football club Blackpool, has been named as a possible buyer. Belokons previously owned a different Latvian television channel, TV5, but sold his shares in it to News Corp in 2007.
Answering the question whether such a deal is being discussed, the chairwoman of joint-stock Belokon Holdings (BH) Anita Lase told the business information portal Nozare.lv that BH “has always been involved in various media projects, and is interested to continue working in this sphere.” However, she did not reveal any information regarding the possible purchase of LNT.
News Corp has not released a statement as of yet. LNT Chairman of the Board Andrejs Ekis has categorically denied information that News Corp would sell the television channel to Belokons.
Reports on the possible sale of LNT were heard for the first time last year. A News Corp insider told Reuters at the time that the company, after being approached by multiple suitors, had hired the now-defunct U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers to ascertain the value and strategic options for three Eastern European television stations.
It was reported at the time that News Corp’s European subsidiary, New Corp Europe, controls 100 percent of Latvian television channels LNT and TV5, which it purchased in 2007.