March 17, 2017 / 9:53 AM / 5 months ago

UPDATE 1-Sweden's MTG sells Baltic broadcasting in shift to digital

(Adds background, CEO comment, analyst)

STOCKHOLM, March 17 (Reuters) - Sweden's MTG has agreed to sell its Baltic broadcasting operations to Providence Equity Partners, the latest deal in its transformation from a traditional broadcaster to a digital entertainment firm.

Founded 30 years ago by media mogul Jan Stenbeck - who also created telecom operators Tele2 and Millicom - MTG now faces declining linear TV viewing and is pushing into the multi-billion dollar online gaming market.

CEO Jorgen Madsen Lindemann sees MTG becoming a global player within digital entertainment and a Nordic player within its traditional operations.

"We should expect more to be divested and we should expect more to be acquired," he told Reuters on Friday after the deal was announced, while declining to be more specific.

The firm has sold its Ukrainian pay-TV business, its Hungarian free-TV, and recently its stake in Czech FTV Prima Holding, while taking a 35 percent stake in online gaming firm InnoGames.

The latest deal values MTG's Baltic businesses at 115 million euros ($124 mln) and will result in a significant net capital gain for the Kinnevik-controlled media group.

"I like that MTG exits these kinds of assets and uses the money to invest in other parts of the business. It firms our view on the company," said Swedbank analyst Stefan Ward, who has a strong buy recommendation on MTG shares.

MTG shares rose 0.8 percent at 0917 CET, while the broader Swedish stock index was down 0.2 percent. ($1 = 0.9295 euros) (Reporting by Olof Swahnberg and Helena Soderpalm; Editing by Niklas Pollard and Alexander Smith)

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