AB buys into Gallic RTL9

Acquires 65% stake

PARIS — French television production company and digital platform operator AB has acquired a 65% stake in cable, satellite and terrestrial broadcaster RTL9 from CLT/Ufa.

The deal, which was expected, is believed to have cost AB some $33 million. Estimates had put a $50 million value on RTL9’s 2.1 million cable subscribers in France and Switzerland and a further $33 million on the 650,000 homes which can pick up the channel terrestrially in the northeastern Lorraine region of France.

However, the price was brought down by RTL9’s debts and the fact that AB has picked up only 65%. (CLT/Ufa will hold on to 33.5%, with 2.25% in the hands of the Banque Populaire de Lorraine.)

Despite losses totaling approximately $23 million over the past two years, RTL9 is expected to turn a small profit this year, according to AB chairman Claude Berda.

AB owns or controls rights to some 30,000 hours of programming in French-speaking Europe and is expected to funnel some of this programming into RTL9.

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