Germany's Bertelsmann is to increase its current 67% majority shareholding in the radio and television holding RTL Group by acquiring the 22% stake held by the Pearson Group. The remaining11% is held by the public as free-float.
As part of the purchase agreement, Pearson will be paid Euros 1.5bn for its shareholding in RTL, which corresponds to a price of Euros 44 per share. Bertelsmann has commenced discussions with the board of RTL with the intention of buying out the remaining public shareholders in RTL at a price of Euros 44 per share.
Commenting on the transaction, Bertelsmann's chairman & CEO Thomas Middelhoff said "this is the next strategic step towards becoming a primarily TV- and Internet-driven, integrated media and entertainment group for the future. In Bertelsmann's portfolio, the focus of which has changed profoundly over the past three years - from print to entertainment - RTL Group today contributes the greatest share of revenue and profit. RTL Group's numerous powerful brands in the television, radio, TV production and online sectors are particularly valuable marketing platforms and carriers of excellent media content to the consumer."
RTL Group was created in April 2000 from the merger between CLT-UFA and Pearson TV (now known as FremantleMedia), consisting of 23 TV and 17 radio stations in nine European countries as well as production activities in three dozen countries worldwide, including the US, Australia and South Africa, making it the biggest TV producer outside of Hollywood.