Prague, Czech Republic -- Central European Media
Enterprises Ltd. (CME) said last week that it ceased technical and production operations
at its Czech unit and laid off 215 employees.
CME's Zeska Nezavisla Televizni Spolecnost Spol s.r.o.
(CNTS) unit operated the Nova TV broadcast station with a license held by locally based
CET 21. But earlier this year, CET 21 majority owner Vladimir Zelezny, who was also
employed by CNTS, left CET 21 and began using its license for his own transmissions.
CNTS will rehire the employees if it can secure a broadcast
license, and is currently exploring alternative distribution, including cable and
In April, SBS Broadcasting S.A. agreed to acquire the
long-troubled CME for $615 million. CME said if Nova TV does not restart transmission, it
may be forced to write off more than $58 million in goodwill and expenses.
CME has eight stations in six markets across Central and