Tunisian businessman to buy Egypt’s ONTV from Sawiris

A Tunisian businessman is to purchase Egypt’s leading independent satellite news channel ONTV from Egyptian business tycoon Naguib Sawiris, the channel reported this week whilst covering the ongoing violent clashes in the country.

Naguib Sawiris, founder of Orascom Telecom Holding SAE. (Image: Flickr/Hurbert Burda Media)

Tarek Ben Ammar and Sawiris have agreed on the deal, although neither side has announced the financial value of the agreement.

According to a statement from Ben Ammar, the aim with the purchase is to create “the first independent pan-Arab TV group” across North African and the Middle East.

Ben Ammar, who has TV operations in Tunisia and Egypt, said he plans to expand in Morocco.

Ben Ammar, who sits on the boards of Telecom Italia and Italian investment house Mediobanca, has also been rumored to be a bidder for Telecom Italia’s La7 channel.

However, at a press conference in Milan, Ben Ammar said that he does not want to buy La7, adding that “I don’t have the money or desire to do it” and that it would be a conflict of interest.

He also rejected press speculation of a possible acquisition of Mediaset’s pay-TV unit, Mediaset Premium.

Joseph Mayton