Friday, October 5, 2018

Media Empires of Egypt : And Egyptian Media acquires CBC Network in the end officially

From a month ago, the media map in Egypt has had a very interesting reshuffle that was significant.
Egypt’s Media Empire The Egyptian Media Group “EMG” acquired 51% of Future Media and Telecommunications Group, the mother company of CBC Network, thus becoming the company that technically controls the media with the lion share for real in Egypt.

On 5 September 2018, Egypt’s daily financial newspaper “Al Mal” quoted an anonymous TV host in the TV network speaking about the acquisition which to be announced later.
The anonymous TV host also spoke about the suspension of famous TV host Lamis El-Hadidy who up till this moment has not returned back to her Saturday-Wednesday News Night talk show on CBC TV for no apparent reason after her summer vacation.

News reports say that EMG wanted her to present her show on ONTV “which it owns” instead of CBC but she refused. The news was not confirmed or denied but it made many people wonder why EMG had had that power to stop her from appearing on CBC in the first despite her contract.

The upcoming lines will explain why technically from a managerial point of view some executives in EMG thought they have the right to move her like that aside from all the political analysis said off the records then.
According to Al Mal Daily, EMG had already owned 30% of shares in Future Media company so in the new deal it only would acquire 21% of the shares to have the controlling stake in the company that founded in July 2011.

Five days later on 10September,, Egyptian Media Group announced officially that it acquired 51% of Future Media and photos showing EMG CEO Tamer Morsi shaking hands with Future Media CEO Mohamed El-Amin.

The statement released to the media did not include how much EMG paid to acquire those addition 21% nor it mentioned either the rest of the shareholders or their identities or even when the talks started to change the ownership structure.

Mohamed El-Amin and Tamer Morsi "Egyptian Media Group"
Mohamed El-Amin and Tamer Morsi "Egyptian Media Group"
In May, Al-Amin denied what he considered rumors about “an upcoming change the ownership structure of the group” claiming that those rumors were aiming to the fact the advertising market before the start of the Holy Season Ramadan. “The highest TV season for viewership, it is like Super bowel but 24/7 for 30 days”

In that statement released to the media then, the media tycoon expressed his astonishment about how some were spreading those rumors rejecting at the same time  how some claim that the “state” was acquiring the group which “was completely untrue” according to him.

Those rumors target the Egyptian State claiming that it wants to control the media turning it to one - voice media and stopping reporters and media figures from transferring the truth and facing rumors; those rumors are untrue

That’s what he said earlier this month concerning that *rumor*
This has been always the case with Future Media Group since its launch in summer 2011.
Future Media and Telecommunications Company owns CBC Network , Cairo Media school , Arab News Agency “ANA”, Al-Watan Newspaper.
In its old good days , this company used to own 14 TV channels which mostly acquired in the year 2012 like Modern Sports.

Now I have been searching a lot to know when EMG acquired 30% of Future Media and I have failed but instead, I found more interesting news starting from the year 2016.

Just as steel tycoon Ahmed Abu Hashima announced in May 2016 that his Egyptian Media group “then” acquired ONTV to start officially that media empire ,  Future Media declared that it merged with Al-Nahar TV network to expand the reach of their channels beyond Egypt.
The merger press
The merger press on 25 May 2016
According to the statements of Al-Nahar Co-owner and head Amr Al-Kahky , the merger negotiations lasted for nine months earlier.

In October 2016 , Cairo-based United Printing, Publishing and Information Technology CO. aka “UPPITCO” acquired 51% of Future Media and Al-Nahar Network.
Al-Masry Al-Youm Daily “AMAY” quoted an anonymous source in the Media Industry Chamber saying UPPITCO which is owned by one of the State’s institutions acquired 51% of the shares for LE 1,100,000,000. “You read the number right, it is one billion and one hundred million Egyptian pounds”
The anonymous sources also added that UPPIT CO had already acquired 75% of Abu Hashima’s Egyptian Media Group while he owned only 25%.
I have been searching for any news about how UPPIT Co acquired 75% of Egyptian Media Group in 2016 but I could not find anything about that deal.

Back to CBC Network , its founder Mohamed Al-Amin who graduated from the University of Alexandria said during then that that deal would enable the TV networks to expand regionally.

“UPPIT Co.” is as its name implies , a Printing , Publishing and IT Company but it is keeping a very low profile despite it seems to be one of the main providers of traffic CCTV systems to different governorates in the country like in Qalyubia or in Damietta.

Its official website does not include any information on who heads it currently or previously or anything.
The official website only says among its clients ministries and governorates.
One could not find news or details about that company online except very few when it hits the Google search for the first time.

According to that source that spoke with AMAY, it is owned by one of the state’s apparatuses and “apparatuses” in our Egyptian societal diction refers to security agencies.

A couple of news reports like in Mada Masr about the recent acquisitions in the media market says that “UPPIT Co.” is actually a company owned by or a front of the Egyptian General Intelligence Directorate or as commonly known General Intelligence.
There is noting on its website says so but also there is nothing on its website in the first place about when or who founded it.

The only connection I found it between it and the General Intelligence is the fact that its current head Mr. Samy El-Gerf , the former assistant director of the General Intelligence  who retired from service in June 2015 according to the official state gazette.

“UPPIT” was also mentioned recently in the media in the same paragraph sometimes with the General Intelligence during the trial of former Mounfia governor who was arrested in January for corruption charges.
Former governor Hesham Abdel Baset is accused of receiving LE 2 million bribe from a businessman “ a second defendant in the case” for illegally allocating construction contracts of governmental buildings to his company.
According to the prosecution , the former governor claimed that the businessman was a subcontractor for UPPIT Co. on papers only while he was not.
On the first day of his trial, Abdel Baset denied those charges saying that UPPIT did not have any business in the Nile Delta governorate adding all the works involved in the investigation were done by the General Intelligence. Needless to say , all parties involved say that the former governor was lying.
Sorry for this short interruption back to the media , UPPIT and its acquisition.

That merger between Al-Nahar and CBC did not last too long, it only worked for one year.
In May 2017 , the two TV networks declared that they terminated the merger deal due to “their managerial different views and visions” .

At the same time,  CBC or rather Future Media Group announced it would go on with UPPIT acquisition which had already been forgotten.
In June 2017 , the Egyptian Stock exchange “EGX” announced that it opened an OPR market to sell 25 million shares in Future Media group for LE 10 million in two deals , the first amounting 5 million shares at LE 1 per share while the second involved 20 million shares at LE 0.40 per share.
The news ended there without further details once again including how much those shares actually represent in the stakes of the group or how many of those shares were sold in the first place.

Fast forward to our day, EMG owns now the 51% controlling shares in Future media Group.
It is unclear from news archives if it bought UPPIT shares or not it or that it acquired first the 21% of the shares through that June 2017 EGX deal or not exactly.
Some are amazed that EMG would go and acquire such controlling stake in FMG when its other media networks like ONTV are suffering financially for real.
Interestingly according to Kuwaiti Al-Jarida , Mohamed Al-Amin still owns 49% of the shares in FMG and his daughter Mona Al-Amin is still the deputy CEO of FMG.
This means that EMG did not acquire those 21% from Al-Amin. Personally , I believe that it acquired from UPPIT.

Mohamed Al-Amin , the original CBC Face

I can’t speak about CBC Network without mentioning Al-Amin.
Before mid 2011 , Egyptian businessman Mohamed Al-Amin was from the shadow businessmen whom you do not hear his name usually at all let alone in the media.

All what is known publicly about Al-Amin that he left Egypt after graduating from the faculty of engineering  in the 1980s to start working in Kuwait as a civil engineer along with his brother.
Sooner , he would own a factory for toilets and toilet seats in Cairo and Kuwait.
Mohamed Al-Amin of CBC "Youm7"
Mohamed Al-Amin of CBC "Youm7" 
In the last decade of Mubarak’s rule and the rise of businessmen and tycoons , Mohamed Al-Amin expanded his activity in Cairo and became a partner of businessman Mansour Amer and his Porto-tourism Amer Group Empire.
El-Amin is a non-executive board member of Amer Group along with Amer family and other businessmen.
Then 25 January revolution erupted and suddenly in May 2011 , Mohamed Al-Amin was re-introduced to the society as a newspaper publisher with his new so-called independent “Al-Watan” newspaper that had unprecedented high salaries unseen in Egyptian Journalism market.
But that was not his only newspaper he published.
Al-Amin were among the owners of Youm 7 newspaper and website along with his old partner Mansour Amer till January 2013.

Backward to July 2011, Mohamed Al-Amin launched from Cairo Capital Broadcasting Center or CBC TV network with reportedly USD 15 million first year budget.
For years , the word was in the Media City that Al-Amin had funding from the Gulf , to be particular from Kuwait where he worked most of his life and his family still lives there.
It was said that Pro-Mubarak Kuwaiti supporters were behind that huge funding and the aim was to control the popular opinion in the country but somehow I feel that they failed miserably.

In September from the same year , Al-Amin began to acquire other TV networks and channels to the level that made all people wonder from where he got all that money.
He started with Al-Nahar TV channel “It was still channel” acquiring 85% of its shares from businessman and media industry figure Samir Youssef “TV host Mona El-Shazly’s husband” as well other businessmen for an undisclosed amount of money.

Al-Amin announced  on 23 September he acquired 85% of Sports-focused Modern TV network “Founded in 2007”. Its founder famous NDPian figure Nabil Daabas already was saved from bankruptcy because of that deal.
In the same month , he declared his intention to acquire Drama-Film focused Panorama TV network but its owned founder and owner Mahdy Ewis said he wouldn't sell his channels because he did not want a media monopoly in Egypt.

Moving to press, he acquired too Arab News Agency “ANA” from its Kuwaiti owners than he declared that he acquired tabloid Al-Fagr weekly newspaper and its publishing house. “No wonder the newspaper does not speak about him at all”
To maintain that media empire is not easy especially in political risky times when you do not have real media background.

In July 2012, Amr El-Khaky of Media Line Group acquired the 85% shares of Al-Amin in the channel that was struggling financially.
In January 2013, Both Al-Amin and his old partner Mansour Amar sold their shares in Youm 7 Newspaper and website to Amr El-Khaky of Media Line group “Al-Nahar Group” and Ahmed Abu Hashima became the owners of most shares in that newspaper.
Again we do not know who owned the rest few shares.
Since its launch in 2008 , Youm 7 is said to be owned allegedly by corrupted hardcore National Democratic Party member tycoons Mamdouh Ismail and Ashraf Safwat Al Sherif “both runaways in the UK up till now” despite the constant denials of the Pro-regime news website.
Despite their popularity , Modern TV network channels were closed by CBC in July 2013 due to the financial crisis that hit the channels then.

Channels were launched then closed down and it seems that there are huge financial losses as people are no longer watching TV thanks to the internet.
In August 2018 , Al-Amin sold 658,000 shares “ total of LE 158,000” from his stakes in Amer Group reducing his stake to %5.991 in the company.
The timing is interesting indeed.

Now if you reach this line in the post then I must say that you are a truly great reader.

One thing to notice here: the same names here from media tycoons and businessmen were like shifting places from 2011 to 2013. We had businessmen and Gulf-sponsored channels with God knows what kind of agenda in that short period.
After 2013, the state began to enter the arena of the privately-owned network after giving up in fixing the Egyptian state TV and radio.
Now as EMG acquires Future Media Group and its strong arm CBC TV network , it is safely to say the Kuwaiti-Sponsorship is no longer there.  

1 comment:

  1. Interesting Read
    Just a a factual correction that's very important: Al Nahar guy is Alaa El Kahky (Brother of Amr) .. Amr is a journalist


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