Bertelsmann has informed the board of directors of RTL Group that it is considering a reduction of its shareholdings in RTL Group through a capital market transaction, while maintaining a qualified majority of approximately 75%.
In a press statement, RTL Group has said that it understands that a final decision will depend on a number of conditions precedent, including a favourable capital market environment. There can consequently be no assurance as to if, when or on what conditions Bertelsmann will offer part of its shareholdings in RTL Group.
RTL Group will review options to increase the efficiency of its capital structure, such as a potential payment of an extraordinary dividend.
Bertelsmann is the majority shareholder of RTL Group, currently holding 92.3% of the voting rights. The shares of RTL Group are publicly traded on the Luxembourg and Brussels stock exchanges. Bertelsmann CEO Thomas Rabe said in a statement: “We still believe firmly in the future of television and in RTL Group. RTL Group is and will remain a very successful core business for Bertelsmann, and a strong pillar of our portfolio.
“We fully support the RTL Group strategy, and its management in pursuing the company’s further development. Even if it were to reduce its RTL shareholdings, Bertelsmann would retain a significant majority stake of around 75% of RTL Group. Bertelsmann is deeply convinced of the long-term attractiveness of television and the TV production business. As Bertelsmann’s largest corporate division, RTL Group makes major contributions to cash flow and has promising business and growth prospects.
Privately-held German media group Bertelsmann also owns business service provider Arvato Bertelsmann, book publisher Random House and magazine publisher Gruner + Jahr.
RTL Group is an European entertainment network, with interests in 54 television channels and 29 radio stations in ten countries and content production throughout the world. The television portfolio of Europe’s largest broadcaster includes RTL Television in Germany, M6 in France, the RTL channels in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Croatia, Hungary and Antena 3 in Spain – the company also operates the joint venture channel Big RTL Thrill in India and has interests in National Media Group in Russia.
RTL Group’s flagship radio station is RTL in France, and it also owns or has interests in other stations in France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and Luxembourg.
RTL Group’s content production arm, FremantleMedia, is one of the largest international producers outside the US. Each year, it produces 9,200 hours of programming across 58 countries.
(The picture shows the RTL medium wave transmitter on 1440 kHz in Marnach)