RTL, weblets will be merged

BERLIN – Helmut Thoma, chief executive of top-rated German commercial web RTL said that a holding company bringing together RTL and weblets RTL2 and Super RTL will be formed by mid-1997. Thoma also said he would like to take the new company to the stock market.

Thoma told German weekly Focus that bringing the three channels into a single company would facilitate programming and financial planning. While Thoma said he wants the new holding company to go public, the final decision will come from the shareholders.

RTL, owned by media giant Bertelsmann, Luxembourg broadcaster CLT, and the WAZ publishing group, controls nearly 17% of the German TV market. CLT owns large shares in RTL2 and Super RTL, which have ratings of 4.6% and 2.4% respectively. Bertelsmann’s TV and film unit UFA will merge with CLT in January to become Europe’s largest broadcaster.

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