RTL Group to buy piece of N-TV

Deal part of swap between Bertelsmann, Holtzbrinck

MUNICH — Pan-European broadcaster RTL Group is poised this week to grab a stake in 24-hour German news channel N-TV, 50% owned by AOL Time Warner.

Deal would be part of a swap between RTL partner Bertelsmann and N-TV shareholder and publishing group Holtzbrinck, which aims to take over some regional newspapers from Bertelsmann subsid Gruner+Jahr. Holtzbrinck owns 47% of N-TV.

It’s the second time RTL has sought a stake in N-TV; two years ago it backed out of a deal with AOL Time Warner, saying the price was too high.

Sources said the price will be considerably lower than €300 million ($297 million).

Gruner+Jahr wants to leave the regional newspaper biz — Holtzbrinck announced last week that it was set to take over the leading daily Berliner Zeitung and other publications, estimated to be worth around $200 million.

Deal would be a win-win situation for both companies since RTL and Holtzbrinck would be focussing on their core businesses.

Holtzbrinck, one of Germany’s biggest publishers, may have to get approval from the antitrust authority before expanding publishing assets.

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