Telenet has reached an agreement with the shareholders of De Vijver Media to acquire a 50% stake in De Vijver Media via an acquisition of Sanoma’s shares for €26 million and an additional cash investment in the company of €32 million.
The agreement includes the channels Vier (Four) and Vijf (Five) of SBS Belgium, production house Woestijnvis and the weekly TV guide Humo.
Negotiations have been going on for a couple of months.
Wouter Vandenhaute, CEO of De Vijver Media and his business partner, Erik Watté, keep 25 % of the shares through their company W&W. Publisher and printing house Corelio will keep 25 % of the shares in De Vijver Media.
In a statement the Belgian operator said: “Telenet’s long-term participation gives SBS and Woestijnvis the necessary breathing space to develop their strategy further, and at the same time new financial and technological possibilities are created for the Flemish audiovisual sector to continue producing local creative top programmes. The agreement will now – as laid down by law – be submitted to the European Competition Authorities for final approval.
“Thanks to the participation in De Vijver Media, Telenet is able to give impulses to a new channel model and, together with channels Vier and Vijf, have a hand in innovating the Flemish channel landscape. Thanks to the growing convergence between fixed and mobile services and Internet and classic television, the next step is necessary to allow customers to enjoy the new possibilities under the best conditions. Telenet believes that in cooperation with VIER and VIJF, it can help to create an even richer television experience for the consumer.”
The company added that the participation in De Vijver Media “will not result in a change in the agreements they have today with other television providers. Telenet will not consolidate De Vijver Media’s activities.”
“I am very pleased that we have reached an agreement with De Vijver Media. Our participation in this extremely creative company heralds a new step for us to achieve innovation in local content, together with an existing strong channel group,” said John Porter, CEO Telenet.
“Our objective is to offer Flemish viewers the best and most modern multimedia entertainment. A participation in De Vijver Media should make this possible. Of course, this is not an obvious step for a cable company, but I am convinced that the Flemish media landscape can only get stronger with this participation and that Flemish viewers will benefit.”
Wouter Vandenhaute, CEO of De Vijver Media: “Telenet’s investment allows us to look at the future with confidence. Woestijnvis wants to remain a strong and innovative production house and VIER and VIJF want to continue growing. A television landscape with, in addition to a public broadcasting corporation, two commercial players, offers the best guarantee in the long term to provide quality to Flemish viewers, who have been spoiled these last two years. Telenet will not only give us the necessary support, their technological know-how can also seriously help us to carve out a strong position in a sector which will evolve more and more over the coming years.”
Luc Missorten, CEO of Corelio, also considers Telenet within De Vijver Media as a partner for strong and sustainable ambitions within the audiovisual sector: “With Mediahuis, we recently launched a strong partnership for the further development and innovation of our print and digital publishing activities. Telenet is a very innovative Flemish media and technology company. This know-how, combined with Woestijnvis’s creative contribution and Corelio’s journalistic and publishing expertise, offers guarantees for a strong partnership within De Vijver. Corelio is happy to have been the driving force for two strong partnerships in the rapidly changing media landscape.”