24 MAR 2021

RTL GROUP ANALYZES THE SALE OF ITS BELGIAN OPERATIONS

RTL, a unit of publishing group Bertelsmann, could be exploring the sale of its Belgian subsidiary for around 300 million euros ($355 million) and had hired JP Morgan as an adviser.

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RTL Group has commissioned investment bank JP Morgan to study a possible sale of its Belgian operations. L’Echo newspaper reported Tuesday that this includes three television channels (RTL-TVI, Club RTL, Plug RTL), three radio stations (Bel RTL, Contact, and the digital Mint), the video platform RTL Play and the advertising agency IP.

Broadcaster RTL declined to comment on Wednesday on the newspaper report that says that it is exploring the sale of its Belgian operation but reiterated that it is exploring its options as it urges European industry consolidation. L’Echo reported earlier that RTL, a unit of publishing group Bertelsmann, explored the sale of its Belgian subsidiary for around 300 million euros ($355 million) and had hired JP Morgan as an adviser.

A spokesman for RTL declined to comment on the report but reiterated an existing line that the company has issued in response to earlier reports in talks to sell its 48% stake in France’ Groupe M6. RTL said: “There is a strong case for consolidation in the European broadcasting sector. RTL Group reviews such options on an ongoing basis, intending to create value for its shareholders. There can be no certainty that this may lead to any agreement or transaction.” ($1 = 0.8457 euros) (Reporting by Klaus Lauer, Writing by Douglas Busvine, editing by Emma Thomasson)

Since the back end of 2020, RTL Group has been the sole owner of its Belgian subsidiary, with the group acquiring the stakes of French-language newspaper publishers (Rossel, IPM, Mediafin, and Holding Echos – Mediafin). This would have put a price on the division of €300 million. However, since then there has been a decline in the Belgian advertising market, leading to a fall in turnover of 14%.