RTL, Disney in dispute

BERLIN — Disney may be on the verge of canceling a deal with Germany’s top commercial web RTL. According to Hamburg weekly Welt am Sonntag, Disney has raised the price on a film package that it had agreed to sell to RTL shareholder CLT prior to Luxembourg-based CLT’s merger with Bertelsmann subsidiary Ufa at the beginning of the year. CLT-Ufa is refusing to pay the higher sum, the paper says.

Disney has been supplying CLT’s European networks with programming since 1995. Referring to a clause in its contract with CLT allowing Disney to break the agreement in case of a shareholder change, Disney is reportedly threatening to bow out of the deal with RTL unless the higher price is paid. Bertelsmann board member Michael Dornemann and CLT-Ufa managing director Rolf Schmidt-Holtz are considering taking legal action against Disney, the paper claims.

RTL managing director Helmut Thoma has said that the web has the rights to Disney product through 2009.

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