Advanced Television

Bertelsmann: "Five needs merger to survive"

March 27, 2009

Bertelsmann, the German media group that controls Five, has said that the UK broadcaster does not have a sustainable future without a merger with ITV or Channel 4. Thomas Rabe, the chief financial officer of Bertelsmann, which has a 90 per cent stake in Five owner RTL, said that the UK broadcaster’s current business model was “not sustainable”.

“We don’t think Five in its current form is sustainable and that a transformation of the business or consolidation is necessary,” added Rabe. “Everybody agrees that there will be further consolidation in the UK TV market and we are deeply convinced we will be part of it. There is no doubt that in that consolidation, Channel Five will have a value.”

Rabe said that Bertelsmann was open to a merger between Five and ITV. “A combination of Five and ITV: everybody can agree this does make sense, if we could agree terms and conditions,” he added.


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