Transaction terms: Talpa Network will contribute its TV, radio, print, digital, e-commerce and other assets to receive a 30 per cent stake in the enlarged RTL Nederland. RTL Group to remain controlling shareholder of RTL Nederland, owning 70 per cent of the combined group.
Sven Sauvé, CEO of RTL Nederland, will lead the combined group after closing the transaction; Pim Schmitz, CEO of Talpa Network, to join the new Supervisory Board of RTL Nederland which will be chaired by Elmar Heggen, COO and Deputy CEO of RTL Group.
The transaction, which has been approved by the Board of Directors of RTL Group and Talpa Holding, is subject to approval from the competition authorities and is expected to close in the first half of 2022. The advisory process with the respective works councils will start in due course.
Thomas Rabe, CEO of RTL Group, commented: “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. 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.”
Elmar Heggen, COO and Deputy CEO of RTL Group, said: “This merger demonstrates that a combination of national commercial broadcasters in a rapidly changing environment forms a strong and sustainable basis for future growth in the interest of our shareholders. John de Mol has an outstanding entrepreneurial and creative track record. Our long-term partnership and collaboration in the area of content development will be an important success factor for our linear TV channels and streaming offers.”
John de Mol, owner of Talpa Network, 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.”
Pim Schmitz, CEO of Talpa Network, added: “We have been able to build a strong, local, creative media company, despite challenging circumstances. There is no better time to combine forces with RTL.”
Sven Sauvé, CEO of RTL Nederland, sayid: “Over the last 31 years, we have built a successful company with solid financial foundations. The current changes in the media industry demonstrate the importance of strong national media players that understand the art of local storytelling and invest substantially in digital innovation, social and cultural relevance, and independent journalism. This exciting new phase gives us the possibility to ramp up investments in content, technology and data to create a competitive and distinguished alternative to global tech players. This will bring value not only for our viewers, but also for advertisers and the creative industry as a whole. We look forward to working together with John de Mol and Talpa to steer this new group towards a bright future.”
At the moment, RTL Nederland operates the tv channels RTL4, RTL5, RTL7, RTL8, RTL-Z, and RTL Lounge, as well as the SVOD platform Videoland, which has over one million subscribers, and is the second largest SVOD platform in the . Talpa Network consists of tv channels SBS6, Net 5, Veronica and SBS9, radiostations 538, Veronica and Radio 10, and the multimedia platform Linda for women.
The merger pre-empts other possible scenarios, which have been circulating. Telecom operator Vodafone-Ziggo and publishing house DPG Media were said to be interested in acquiring RTL Nederland. In Belgium DPG Media owns Dutch language tv broadcaster Medialaan and is currently bidding for the French language TV channels of RTL Belgium in a joint venture with Rossel publishers.