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RTL, Talpa to merge in Netherlands

RTL Group and Talpa Network have agreed to merge their broadcasting and associated businesses in the Netherlands to create a major new Dutch media group.

Thomas Rabe

The deal will see John de Mol’s Talpa Network contribute its TV, radio, print, digital, e-commerce and other assets in return for a 30% stake in the enlarged RTL Nederland, with RTL Group owning the remaining 70%.

Existing RTL Nederland CEO Sven Sauvé will lead the new combined group with Talpa Network CEO Pim Schmitz joining a supervisory board, chaired by RTL Group chief operating officer and deputy CEO Elmar Heggen.

The merged entity will have 2020 revenue of €909m (US$1.1bn) and operating profit of €84m, with annual content spending of over €400m. The two parties said synergies from the merger would generate €100m to €120m annually through to 2025.

It is the latest major strategic move for Luxembourg-based RTL Group since the merger of its French business M6 Group with rival TF1 Group last month to create a new French media giant.

“Following the proposed merger of Groupe TF1 and Groupe M6 in France, the combination of RTL Nederland and Talpa Network is the second major step to scale up our broadcasting businesses across our European footprint,” said RTL Group CEO Thomas Rabe.

John De Mol

“The new cross-media group will have the size, resources and creativity to compete with global tech platforms in the Netherlands when it comes to investing in premium content, offering the most advanced addressable advertising opportunities, and expanding Videoland, the leading national streaming service for Dutch viewers.”

The deal hands RTL control of Talpa Network assets including four free-to-air Dutch TV channels – SBS6, Net5, Veronica and SBS9 – as well as video streamer KIJK, plus a variety of radio, audio streaming, social media, print and e-commerce interests.

De Mol said: “I started Talpa Network to build a strong Dutch media company able to compete with the growing global platforms in order to preserve local content. This next step will allow us to do just that – and I am pleased that the deal creates a strong Dutch company that not only guarantees Dutch quality content but is also able to take on the American and Chinese tech players.

“On top of that, it allows me to fully focus once again on what I like best: the creation and development of new innovative content.”

The Big Brother and The Voice creator retains the Talpa Entertainment Productions, Talpa Concepts and Talpa Distribution businesses he set up following the sale of his last company, Talpa Media, to ITV Studios in 2015.

RTL Group’s portfolio includes leading European broadcasters RTL Television in Germany, M6 in France, the RTL channels in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Croatia, Hungary and Antena 3 in Spain. It also owns streaming services TV Now, 6play, Salto, Videoland and producer-distributor Fremantle.


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