New Web’s Creation A Legal Tangle

The making of Holland’s first, major private commercial network – backed by some of Europe’s largest media players – is fraught with legal difficulties. When and if ironed out, these could provide a blueprint for EU cross-border dealmaking in the newly deregulated European Union.

The new network is an alliance between Holland’s three most powerful broadcasters – RTL 4 and RTL 5, backed by pan-European media groups CLT and VNU – and Veronica, now a major public broadcaster but soon to be launched as a commercial channel in a 50/50 venture between top European indie producer Endemol Entertainment and Veronica.

The parties have been huddled in legal pow-wows since announcing in late February they had struck a deal to launch Holland Media Group, a holding company initially housing the three commercial TV channels and two radio outlets. The main legal difficulties at present are inside Holland, where the deal – once it is inked on March 17 – will be taken to task by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs.

Will Moerer, a spokesperson for Holland’s Media Commission, says one of the principal problems is that HMG is to be registered as a Dutch company, but two of its channels – RTL 4 and RTL 5 – are currently broadcasting from Luxembourg.

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