Monday, 6 October 2008


RTL gets green light to put in offer for ITV

RTL, the Luxembourg-based media group and owner of Five, is understood to have been given the all-clear to bid for ITV by its German parent Bertelsmann.

The Mohn family, which controls Bertelsmann, is said to have set aside a £1bn-plus war chest for RTL head Gerhard Zeiler to use for European acquisitions.

The shift in Bertelsmann's position comes after it sold its 50 per cent stake in music venture Sony BMG to Sony in August for more than £600m.

ITV is top of Zeiler's shopping list, but a move is still thought to be some time away. He will need to borrow to fund a bid for the UK commercial broadcaster, which is valued on the London Stock Exchange at £1.7bn. With credit markets still seized up, that could prove difficult even if RTL were prepared to inject 60 per cent of ITV's equity value.

Takeover speculation surrounding ITV flared up again last week, when BSkyB failed in its attempt to retain its controversial 17.9 per cent stake. The buyer of the Sky holding is expected to use it as a platform for a full takeover. There have been rumours that RTL would be prepared to hand BSkyB Five in return for its ITV stake.

But a change of ownership may be delayed as BSkyB is considering another appeal, further lengthening a process that began with the decision of then chief executive James Murdoch to buy shares to block a planned bid for ITV by Virgin Media in November 2006.
Story from "The Observer", Sunday October 5th 2008.
reported on Page three of the business section.
This is not as bad as it first seems for U.K. viewers considering the vast influance RTL have on European TV programming and at this time we can report that RTL Television will exclusively broadcast up to 18 matches from the FIFA World Cup 2010 on German Free-To-Air T.V.
QUOTE from this report above;
There have been rumours that RTL would be prepared to hand BSkyB Five in return for its ITV stake.QUOTE
This would be disaster for the British T.V. viewer who rely on channels similar to channel 5 for being middle of the road viewers mix and this is why the channel 5 family are so popular. If these rumours about RTL giving away channel 5 are even remotely true then RTL advisers need to take some reality medicine starting with the U.K. viewers.

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