Euro broadcaster sells Alpha stake

Pan-European giant RTL Group announced Thursday that it’s exiting Greece, citing the country’s ongoing economic woes.

RTL is selling its 70% stake in Alpha Media Group — which it bought from Dimitris Contominas in 2008 for €125.7 million ($185 million) — back to the Greek entrepreneur. Financial details of the new deal were not revealed. Acquisition is subject to approval by the Greek Competition Commission but is expected to close in the first quarter of the year.

Contominas presently owns 30% of Alpha, comprising nationwide channel Alpha TV, and will again become sole owner. Alpha’s management will remain in place and continue to oversee the channel, which RTL has repositioned for a younger audience.

RTL CEO Gerhard Zeiler said, “Our local management team, led by CEO Christoph Mainusch, succeeded in increasing the channel’s ratings and cutting costs. We are happy to have found a solution that enables Alpha to continue broadcasting.”

Contominas said, “Alpha has significantly improved its market position over the past three years. I regret that RTL Group is leaving the Greek market, especially given the achieved development.”

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