A Portuguese investment firm has signed an agreement to buy the controlling stake in Lyon-based broadcaster Euronews from Egyptian telecoms magnate Naguib Sawiris.
Euronews said on Friday that Lisbon-based Alpac Capital had sealed a deal to acquire the 88 percent of shares in the multilingual TV channel held by Sawiris’ Media Globe Networks (MGN). The deal is set to be finalized in early 2022.
“In the coming months, we will have to build a resolutely digital project so that, with this transformation, Euronews can take its rightful place in Europe,” said Pedro Vargas David, chief executive of Alpac Capital.
Euronews, a 24-hour broadcaster working in 15 languages, declined to disclose how much Alpac paid for the shares.
The move comes after a tumultuous couple of years for Euronews, in which Sawiris was called upon to issue emergency loans to the company and staff protested over planned cutbacks. The company had once been styled as a European CNN.
In 2019, concerns were raised by the European Court of Auditors, which found that the broadcaster relied heavily on funding from the European Commission, to the tune of €122 million between 2014 and 2018.
Auditors said that the EU executive should have a mechanism in place to verify if Euronews “complies with the commitments on preserving its editorial impartiality.”
It is unclear whether the Commission’s support of Euronews will continue into the new year with the new ownership structure. The previous agreement expired in February, and Commission officials have since been mulling a new financing deal. The Commission had no immediate comment.
Euronews said that policies on editorial independence “will remain unchanged” after Alpac Capital’s takeover.