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Monday, 16 May 2016

Shakeup in Egyptian media industry, ONTV sold to Abou Hashima

Egyptian Media Company, owned by steel mogul Ahmed Abou Hashima, has acquired the ONTV network from Naguib Sawiris. Egyptian Media Company said the move comes as part of its aim to invest in Egyptian media “to restore Egypt’s prominent position in the media industry” regionally according to Daily News Egypt. Abou Hashima said the move would “be followed by other acquisitions of media outlets and drama production in addition to internet channels.” ONTV’s new editorial and programming direction will be set once the network’s top management meets with Abou Hashima over the coming days, said the channel’s chief, Amr Risk. Until then, all editorial functions will remain as is, he added according to Al Mal. (Ahram Online has the story in English, including a photo of what it suggests is Naguib and Abou Hashima shaking hands after inking the deal.)

The acquisition is part of a wider shakeup in the media industry, Al Masry Al Youm reports, saying Abou Hashima’s Egyptian Media Company has already acquired the Sout Al Omma newspaper as well. The paper’s editor-in-chief says he was not informed of any change in ownership and is looking for confirmation from the current owners, Al Borsa said. It adds that Emirati investors are in talks to acquire the Al Hayat channels, which are owned by Al Wafd politico El Sayed El Badawi.

Classic Sawiris: “I got tired of ONTV and so I sold it,” said former owner Naguib Sawiris in an interview in Al Ashera Masa’an on Dream TV (runtime: 22:09 — segment on ONTV’s sale at 13:25). The channel was running-up bills, proving to be a burden to the ever-entertaining Sawiris. He added that the network needed to diversify away from politics and into film and television shows to become profitable, something he had no interest in doing. No one pressured him into selling the channel, he said, adding that he had been considering it for some time.

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