TF1 takes stake in AB Group

Web buys 33.5% of stock for $306 million

PARIS — Leading French commercial web TF1 has inked a Euros 230 million ($306 million) deal to take a 33.5% stake in France’s AB Group.

The company, which operates thematic channels and distributes a large catalog of TV programming, will continue to be controlled by its chairman Claude Berda, owner of 66.5%, a statement from TF1 said.

AB Group posted a profit of Euros 46 million ($61 million) in 2005 on revenues of Euros 202 million ($269 million) last year.

The company’s library of 37,000 hours of programming includes series, sitcoms, television movies, cartoons and documentaries. Rights include American sitcoms, such as “Friends” and “Mad About You,” and European series, such as “Derrick.”

AB Group also operates 18 thematic channels including RTL9, France’s leading satellite channel, TMC, a general interest channel, and NT1, available on digital terrestrial TV in France, and the Belgian DTT channels, AB3 and AB4.