FREE to air television station EM TV is now wholly government-owned, after Fiji Television accepted a K27 million offer for parent company Media Niugini (MNL) in early February.

Fiji Television chairman Iowane Naiveli said aggressive competition, a proposed change in legislation and the necessary investment for the change to digital broadcasting were the reasons for the sale.

“With increased competition and upcoming digitalisation program in PNG, we had two options – either to invest more or to divest. The board made a decision to divest,” he said.

MNL had contributed more than 50 per cent of Fiji Television’s consolidated revenue in 2013, though this had declined to 47% in 2014, Fiji Television said.

Fiji Television’s pay TV division, Sky Pacific, will remain in company hands and continue to operate in PNG, the group said in an announcement.

The sale was made to Telikom PNG, a state-owned entity held under the Independent Public Business Corporation, under the terms of a memorandum of understanding signed the previous year.

At the time, Telikom PNG chief executive Michael Donnelly said he saw a series of positive synergies between the companies.

“Now, with the MNL acquisition, we will be able to extend our offering beyond voice and data services to include content along with FM100 business unit to the PNG market,” he said.

The news came after Telikom PNG acquired internet service provider Datec PNG, with Telikom chairman Mahesh Patel saying the acquisition was important for the group as it moved to restructure its communications business.

Datec will be an integral part of TPNG’s strategy to expand its internet and data businesses providing converged technology solutions in addition to offering voice, data and wireless solutions and an innovative retail experience, the company said in an announcement.