With the RTL Group suggesting that the deal will create a cross-media champion across TV, streaming, print, radio and digital, RTL Deutschland has agreed with Bertelsmann to acquire Gruner + Jahr’s German publishing assets and brands for €230 million on a cash-free and debt-free basis. G+J will contribute popular and trusted brands such as Stern, Brigitte, Geo, Capital, Schöner Wohnen, Eltern and Art as well as journalistic experience to RTL Deutschland.
In recent years, RTL Deutschland and G+J have expanded their cooperation in the areas of advertising sales (Ad Alliance), content creation (Bertelsmann Content Alliance) as well as research and data (Data Alliance). The combination builds on these successful alliances. It will further strengthen RTL Deutschland’s position as partner of choice for Germany’s creative talent and boost the growth of its streaming service RTL+ (TV Now), driven by investments in local content, independent journalism, technology and data. A joint editorial team with more than 1,500 journalists will create a journalistic powerhouse to deliver reliable news, investigative reports and features in all genres across TV, audio and print. Examples are new high-end documentary series for families from Geo and the new TV format Stern Investigativ.
Thomas Rabe, CEO of RTL Group, says: “Following the proposed consolidation moves in France and the Netherlands, the combination of RTL Deutschland and Gruner + Jahr is our third milestone in 2021 to create national cross-media champions. In the growing competition with global tech platforms, exclusive local content is the key to success – in particular to boost our streaming services. With added scale, resources and creative power, RTL Deutschland and Gruner + Jahr combined will increase investments into what matters most: premium content and journalistic excellence. The enlarged RTL Deutschland will offer German audiences the broadest spectrum of high-quality entertainment and independent information – while advertising clients will benefit from the most advanced and brand-safe advertising opportunities.”
RTL Deutschland’s acquisition of G+J publishing assets and brands from Bertelsmann qualifies as a related-party transaction and was voted on and unanimously approved by the independent Directors of RTL Group’s Board. An independent expert (Deutsche Bank) provided a fairness opinion to the members of RTL Group’s Board of Directors to conclude that the consideration to be paid by RTL Group for the G+J publishing assets is fair, from a financial point of view, to RTL Group. The transaction has also been unanimously approved by Bertelsmann’s Executive Board and Supervisory Board and is expected to close on January 1st 2022.
The enlarged RTL Deutschland would have 2020 revenue of €2.63 billion and operating profit (Adjusted EBITA) of €496 million. The potential synergies of the transaction (Adjusted EBITA run-rate impact) are estimated at around €100 million per year, to be fully realised in 2025. Gruner + Jahr Deutschland will continue to be headquartered in Hamburg.