Teuton titan grasps goal with $365 mil RTL deal

MADRID — German media giant Bertelsmann has finally secured a toehold in Spain’s TV market.

The move comes as a final step in the creation of European TV superpower the RTL Group, which was created in April through the merger of Pearson TV and CLT/Ufa.

As part of the megadeal, valued at $19 billion, Pearson TV’s parent company Pearson PLC agreed to pool all of its TV assets in the RTL Group, including the 10% it held in top Spanish commercial net Antena 3 and 5% in satcaster Via Digital, through Pearson’s controlling interest in Madrid-based publishing holding the Recoletos Group.

Pearson has finally secured Spanish governmental permission to transfer its Spanish TV assets to the RTL Group.

Pearson’s stake increased

Resulting deal, valued at 400 million euros ($365 million), will see Pearson formally increase its stake in the RTL Group to 22%.

Bertelsmann currently holds 29.6%. A further 30% of the RTL Group is owned by Albert Frere’s Groupe Bruxelles Lambert, which shares control of CLT/Ufa with Pearson.

Pearson’s transfer of its Spanish TV assets to the RTL Group will go before a shareholders meeting of the RTL Group on Sept. 4.

The completed RTL group deal fulfills Bertelsmann’s declared ambition to enter the booming Spanish TV market. According to an RTL group spokesman, CLT/Ufa is still involved in “ongoing negotiations” to take a further 11% in Antena 3 held by institutional investors, a stake reportedly held by the Bank of New York.

(Emiliano de Pablos and Liza Foreman contributed to this report.)

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