Sweden’s NENT plans U.S. launch for Viaplay, ponders equity raise

(Reuters) – Swedish media group Nordic Entertainment Group (NENT) said on Tuesday it would launch its streaming service Viaplay in the United States and Poland next year, and would target reaching 10.5 million subscribers for the service by 2025.

NENT, which also said it would launch Viaplay in 5 additional markets before the end of 2023, is also considering a potential equity raise of more than 3.5 billion Swedish crowns ($405.85 million) to finance international expansion and increase liquidity in the group’s shares, it said.

“Viaplay is a proven Nordic success story and we are now ready to expand internationally and become the European streaming champion,” NENT CEO Anders Jensen said in a statement.

“This expansion requires funding and we will be discussing this with our shareholders.”

Viaplay, which had just over 2.8 million paying subscribers by the end September, would aim to more than double its Nordic subscriber base to around 6 million while growing it elsewhere to around 4.5 million, NENT said.

“This acceleration in the Group’s development is expected to generate 18-20% compound annual organic sales growth for 2020-2025, with the Nordic operations generating 13-15% growth,” the company said.

NENT said Viaplay would be launched in the United States in late 2021 as “a tailored service offering high-quality Nordic drama series”.

($1 = 8.6238 Swedish crowns)

Reporting by Johannes Hellstrom; Editing by Simon Johnson and Niklas Pollard