By Stuart Thomson
RTL Group and John de Mol’s Talpa Network have struck a deal to merge their broadcasting and affiliated media businesses in the Netherlands to create a unified Dutch cross-media group.
The pair said that the combined group would be able to step up investments in local content, technology and data, offering Dutch audiences a broad spectrum of entertainment and information programmes that would also benefit the Dutch creative industry and advertising market.
The transaction, which has been approved by the two companies’ respective boards, 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.
Talpa Network will contribute its TV, radio, print, digital, e-commerce and other assets to RTL Nederland and will receive a 30 per cent stake in the enlarged RTL Nederland in return.
RTL Group will hold the remaining 70 per cent in the combined group and will continue to fully consolidate RTL Nederland in its accounts.
Sven Sauvé will continue in his current role as CEO of RTL Nederland, leading the combined group. Pim Schmitz, CEO of Talpa Network, will represent Talpa Network by joining the new supervisory board of RTL Nederland which will be chaired by Elmar Heggen, COO and Deputy CEO of RTL Group.
Talpa Network’s content units Talpa Concepts and Talpa Entertainment Producties – which are not part of the deal – and RTL Nederland will enter into a content agreement for newly developed formats for linear TV channels and for the streaming service Videoland.
The combined group had 2020 revenue of €909 million(US$I.09billion) and operating profit (EBITA) of €84 million. The pair have said they expect to realise synergies of between €100 million and €120 million per year by 2025.
CEO of RTL Group, Thomas Rabe said: “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.”
De Mol 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.”
The deal follows speculation about the future of RTL Nederland as the wider RTL Group looks to sell key assets, including M6 Group in France with a potential sale of its Belgian operation also mooted. Last month the broadcaster closed the sale of advertising tech unit SpotX to US group Magnite.