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Takeover of TV indies heats up merger race

As a rush of new Dutch broadcasters do battle on the airwaves, indie producers in Holland are jostling for grid positions in a race to supply the new channels.

D&D Media Holding this week upped the ante with the 100% takeover of medium-sized TV and events production company K&B. The merger of the companies, to take place in the coming weeks, “strengthens our position in the market, and adds a range of possible other synergies,” Eric Dillens, president of D&D’s parent, Belgian-based D&D Entertainment Group, told Variety.

The new, as yet unnamed company will have an estimated combined annual revenue of $19 million and put together some 400 programming hours per year, placing it third on the Dutch indie market behind IDtv, which in October merged with U.K. producer Chrysalis. IDtv has annual revenues of $39 million, makes some 450 to 500 program hours per year inside Holland, and licenses format rights to a number of territories.

Last year, D&D also completed a 100% takeover of Sleeswijk Entertainment, the biggest producer of theatrical and music TV programs in Holland. Both buyouts are part of a long-term D&D strategy to become “a major European player,” said Dillens.

A wave of mergers began in Holland last year following the December 1993 joining of top Dutch producers Joop van den Ende and John de Mol into the $296 million revenue production outfit Endemol Entertainment. That company, which makes more than 2,500 program hours a year, this month joined with pan-Euro media groups CLT, VNU and wealthy Dutch broadcaster Veronica to form Holland’s first three-channel commercial network, HMG. The launch, however, triggered a scramble among producers fearful Endemol would corner the production market.

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