The Dutch competition authority ACM has informed RTL Group and Talpa Network that it will not approve the proposed merger of RTL Nederland and Talpa Network.
According to RTL Group, since the initial announcement of the planned transaction in June 2021, it and Talpa Network have fully cooperated with ACM during its in-depth review. Most recently, both parties made proposals to address and mitigate the concerns raised by ACM regarding the position of the combined group in the Dutch TV advertising market. The proposed remedy was to completely outsource the advertising sales of Talpa Network’s TV channels to Mediahuis Nederland. However, ACM has now indicated to RTL Group and Talpa Network that the market test did not sufficiently mitigate its concerns. This stops the current merger process, and ACM will likely need a few weeks to finalise the formal decision.
It adds that RTL Group and Talpa Network regret that ACM did not take into account the speed and extent of the changes in the Dutch media landscape and the impact of these changes on local media companies. They continue to firmly believe that a merger of RTL Nederland and Talpa Network would have been the right strategic response to the challenges resulting from the increased competition with the international platforms.
Commenting on the development, Thomas Rabe, CEO of RTL Group, said: “RTL Nederland is and will remain a key asset for RTL Group – it is highly profitable with a strong family of channels which scored excellent audience ratings and financial results in 2022. Under the leadership of CEO Sven Sauvé, RTL Nederland has built Videoland, one of the most successful European streaming services. Together with our excellent local management team, we will continue to grow RTL Nederland across TV, streaming and digital. I would like to thank all colleagues at RTL and Talpa Network who have worked on the proposed merger with great dedication. We remain convinced that market consolidation is necessary to compete with the global tech platforms – and that market consolidation will happen in the European TV markets sooner or later”.
Sven Sauvé, CEO of RTL Nederland, added: “Despite the decision of the authorities, we remain convinced that, together with Talpa Network, we could have created new opportunities in the Dutch media landscape. However, we are a company with a strong vision and investment power. We can assure our viewers, creators and business partners of our unwavering commitment to build on RTL’s strong position as a leading Dutch media company. A position that benefits all. RTL Nederland is in good shape, we have an excellent work force and, with the full support of our shareholder, we will continue to expand our position in the TV, digital and streaming domain”.