US senator asks Trump administration to review planned CME sale to PPF Group

27-02-2020

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio has asked the Trump administration to review the national security implications of AT&T’s Inc’s planned sale of its majority stake in Central European Media Group Enterprises (CME) to the Czech-owned conglomerate PPF Group.

Rubio, a Republican who chairs the l Congressional-Executive Commission on China, wrote that the Czech company has a record of acting as “China’s proxies inside the Czech Republic” and added that PPF-owned telecommunications firms are working with Huawei Technologies Co to develop 5G networks.

The CME Group operates in the Czech Republic as well as Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia, reaching around 97 million people and owns some of most-watched news programming in Central and Eastern Europe, Rubio said in the letter.

PPF said in a statement it appeared Rubio was relying on “false information” from a Czech politician and disputed his characterization of CME’s market.

The company said it had only inherited Huawei’s technology as part of its acquisition of the Norwegian telecom operator Telenor last year.