Government allows Bite Lietuva to become the owner of TV3, LNT and Star FM
On Tuesday, 25 July, the Cabinet of Ministers permitted Lithuanian company UAB BITE Lietuva to acquire decisive influence in Latvian media companies TV 3 Latvia, LNT and Star FM.
Permission from the Competition Council is still necessary for the deal to complete.
According to government representatives, the three Latvian media companies own a major share of the country’s mass media market. They are also important from the perspective of protection of interests of national security. In accordance with requirements of the National Security Law, acquisition of 100% of capital shares in such companies requires permission from the Cabinet of Ministers. To make a decision, the Cabinet of Ministers took into account reports from state security institutions on this deal, as well as information from Bite Lietuva about its owners and all other information regarding this deal from the perspective of protection of national security.
Representatives of the State Chancellery say that, according to available information, Bite Lietuva will acquire control over all MTG Broadcasting AB organizations in Latvia.
Amendments to the National Security Law, which came into force 29 March, among other things, states that permission from the Cabinet of Ministers is needed in cases when individuals wish to acquire major participation in commercial enterprises important to national security. This is the first such request approved by the Cabinet of Ministers since the new requirements came into force. As previously reported, at the end of May CC received a request to approve a deal with which Bite Lietuva would acquire control over all MTG Broadcasting AB Group organizations in Latvia, according to information available on CC website.
The decision to permit or prohibit the deal has to be made by CC within one month’s time after receiving the request. If a case requires in-depth analysis, the review period can be extended up to four months.