RTL mulling takeover of United News

U.K. gives 2 of 3 merger approval

BERLIN — European broadcasting giant RTL is considering a takeover of U.K. media house United News & Media, according to speculation in the British press over the weekend.

Reports suggest that RTL, which owns numerous television and radio stations across Europe, is looking at a takeover to gain control over Blighty’s leading commercial web, ITV.

United is one of three major shareholders in ITV, alongside Carlton and Granada. The U.K. government has just given the go-ahead for two of the three to merge.

RTL is already a joint shareholder with United in 3-year-old commercial web Channel 5. Deal would give it the opportunity to fully control the channel by acquiring United’s 35% stake. RTL has a mandate to gain full control of all of its channels.

Reports suggest that if a deal goes through, RTL would sell off a variety of United’s remaining assets.

Such a move would consolidate a rapid turnaround in RTL, which recently hooked up with the U.K.’s Pearson Television, giving it a much needed content boost. Company has also upped its stake in various channels over the past year.

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