RTL to bundle its French broadcast activities

Pan-European broadcaster RTL Group plans to regroup its French radio operations into Groupe M6. With a 48.26 per cent shareholding, RTL Group is the controlling shareholder of the publicly-listed French TV broadcaster Groupe M6.

RTL Group’s Board of Directors and Groupe M6’s Supervisory Board unanimously approved the planned transaction on 7 December 2016 and 13 December 2016, respectively. The transaction is, among others, subject to approval by the French media authority CSA (Conseil supérieur de l’Audiovisuel). Moreover, before signing the purchase agreement, RTL Radio (France) and Groupe M6 will also engage with their employees’ representatives through information and consultation procedures.

As part of the internal re-organisation, Groupe M6 plans to acquire 100 per cent ownership of RTL Group’s market-leading French radio family (RTL, RTL 2, Fun Radio, advertising sales house IP France) for €216 million on a debt and cash-free basis. Following the transaction, Groupe M6 will combine a unique portfolio of TV channels, radio stations, digital services, content production/rights trading and diversification.

The planned re-organisation will have no effect on the journalistic identity of the RTL radio stations and Groupe M6 TV channels. At the same time, the new Groupe M6 aims to attract the best journalistic, creative and on-air talent in France.

An integrated sales house for TV, radio and digital advertising will create new growth opportunities, in particular, by serving advertisers’ growing demand for cross-media advertising solutions. In addition, the combined entity will create efficiencies by sharing investments in technology and digital distribution platforms and by pooling certain central support functions.

In a joint Statement, Guillaume de Posch and Anke Schäferkordt, Co-CEOs of RTL Group, said: “RTL Radio in France has been the iconic cornerstone of RTL Group’s success story in commercial broadcasting across Europe. This transaction aims to open a new, very promising chapter for RTL Radio as convergence and consolidation continue to shape our industry – not only in North America, but also across our European footprint. We are re-organising our French TV and radio activities into one, fully integrated company which will definitely make us more competitive in the digital media world. Groupe M6 has a great track record of building and growing strong media brands, nurturing a culture of creative freedom and innovation. The combination of RTL Radio and M6 will be a force for plurality and creativity in the French media landscape.”

In the framework of the transaction, RTL Group plans to enter into a licensing deal with Groupe M6 which allows Groupe M6 to use the ‘RTL’ trademark, ensuring that all existing radio brands (RTL, RTL 2, Fun Radio) will continue to entertain, inform and engage French listeners.

RTL Group will closely liaise with the Luxembourgish Government on the planned transaction.

JP Morgan provided a fairness opinion to the Board of Directors of RTL Group relating to the planned transaction and the fairness of the consideration to be received by the Group.

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