Please wait...
Please wait...

Bertelsmann to sell some of RTL

Bertelsmann is looking to offload a €2bn (US$2.7bn) stake in European broadcast giant RTL Group, parent of producer FremantleMedia.

The German conglomerate said yesterday it was seeking to reduce its stake in Luxembourg-based RTL from 92.3% to 75% in a bid to raise funds for its own strategic growth.

This would amount to €2bn based on RTL’s current €11.7bn value. The company runs broadcast operations spanning Germany, France, Spain, the Benelux, Eastern Europe and India, and production outfit FremantleMedia around the world.

“RTL Group is and will remain a successful core business for Bertelsmann, and a strong pillar of our portfolio,” said the latter’s chairman and CEO Thomas Rabe.

He said Bertelsmann would continue to support the strategic develop of RTL but needed the funds that would be raised from selling the stake transform the overall business.

“The objective is to make Bertelsmann a faster-growing, more digital and more international company in the years ahead,” said Rabe, who took over at the top a year ago.

A string of senior management changes have taken place at RTL since Rabe’s appointment, starting with the exit of CEO Gerhard Zeiler and FremantleMedia CEO Tony Cohen soon after.

Current RTL co-CEOs Guillaume de Posch and Anke Schaferkordt said of the latest developments that the company was an attractive prospect for any possible bidders and had repeatedly demonstrated its value.

“We are the only pan-European free-TV group with a worldwide content production powerhouse,” they said in a joint statement, along with chief financial officer Elmar Heggen.

“We have leading market positions in the countries we operate in, strong brands and a healthy financial position. Based on these strengths, we have defined a clear strategy to continue our success story, focussing on investments in core, content and digital.”

Bertelsmann announced a £2.5bn (US$4bn) merger between its Random House publishing business and that of Pearson-owned rival Penguin Group in October.

Please wait...