VNU takes equity stake in Dutch distrib

AMSTERDAM — Giant Dutch publisher VNU is continuing to increase its stake in the entertainment industry in Holland, taking a 50% slice of Dutch distribution company RCV Entertainment.

One of the top publishers in Europe, VNU on April 27 also became a minority shareholder in new Belgian information channel The Narrowcasting Company (TNCC).

The 19-year old RCV, owned by Dutch investor Otger Merckelbach, has a cataloge of more than 1,000 American films, and acquires some 100 new titles a year from indie producers including Miramax and Rysher. Since the beginning of the year, RCV has taken a 13% share of the film distrib market in Holland with titles such as the multiple Academy Award-winning “The English Patient.” It also distribs to TV and video.

VNU moved into production for the first time last fall when it took over Holland’s second largest TV producer IDtv, along with British partner the Chrysalis Group. VNU and Chrysalis formed a new company called CVI with the announced intention of becoming a major European production, acquisition and distribution outfit. Thursday’s RCV acquisition, a VNU rep said, “dovetails nicely with the group’s strategy.”

RCV president San Fu Maltha told Daily Variety he foresaw “a number of interesting synergies” in the new deal, not only with CVI but also with VNU’s extensive content-driven publishing interests.

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