Flemish public broadcaster VRT has selected Telenor subsidiary Norkring to operate the region’s transmitter network. Norkring will pay €9.8 million for a 49% share in the new company, limited under Belgian law, with an option to increase the holding to 75%. For the time being VRT will retain the remaining 51%.
At least five other companies were believed to be interested in the public-private partnership including Belgacom, Telenet, TDF, Mobistar and Macquarie.
VRT managing director Dirk Wauters said he was fortunate to find a partner with a belief in the digital future of the media. “Norkring is a vigorous and stable company that will ensure that the transmitter network will be of service to the entire Flemish media landscape.”
“This partnership marks an important milestone in Norkring’s expansion outside the Nordic region. I believe that the new network operator will develop and strengthen its position in the Flemish media landscape,” added Torbjørn Teigen, CEO of Norkring.
The network consists of the transmission sites, infrastructure, headends and ongoing leasing and letting contracts. All of VRT’s transmitter obligations will be transferred to the new network operator. Current services will be maintained under a service contract between the broadcaster and the new network operator.
The transaction requires the approval of the Belgian and Norwegian competition authorities.