You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

RTL Seeking ‘Strategic Alternatives’ for BroadbandTV, Including Potential IPO

RTL Group announced that it has decided to explore strategy alternatives for BroadbandTV, the internet-video company in which it holds a majority stake.

The European entertainment conglomerate invested $36 million in BroadbandTV in 2013, giving it a controlling 51% stake in the Vancouver-based multiplatform network firm. RTL, whose holdings include FremantleMedia, said Tuesday it has decided to not exercise its option to acquire the remaining 49% of BroadbandTV in order to pursue “all strategic alternatives for the company.”

The parties have enlisted investment bank LionTree to lead the process. Possible scenarios for BroadbandTV include a sale of the company, additional outside investors, or an initial public offering.

Shahrzad Rafati (pictured above), founder and CEO of BroadbandTV, said the decision to explore strategic alternatives was an “amicable” one between RTL and the company’s other shareholders. Rafati is the largest shareholder in BBTV after RTL (she declined to disclose the size of her ownership stake) along with other individual investors.

“All parties we have a shared perspective that BBTV is a valuable asset,” Rafati said in an interview. “This is very exciting for us, because it allows us to consider all strategic alternatives as it relates to determining the best outcome for shareholders, employees, customers and the entire ecosystem.”

BroadbandTV is one of the biggest video distributors on the internet, generating north of 22 billion monthly video impressions across its owned-and-operated library and brands as well as across its network of 85,000 content creators. BBTV’s array of services include advertising sales, subscriptions, apps, merchandise and content licensing.

Throughout the review process, business will continue as usual, Rafati said. BroadbandTV has not integrated any of its operations with RTL, and as a standalone entity “it puts us in a different category,” she said. BBTV has received inbound M&A inquiries from various companies, Rafati said, but declined to identify them.

As for BBTV’s valuation, Rafati said LionTree will be evaluating that as part of its strategic review.

BroadbandTV’s key brands include gaming network TGN, Opposition (hip-hop music), WIMSIC (electronic dance music), HooplaKidz (kids and family) and Outspeak (its citizen-journalism brand in partnership with AOL’s Huffington Post). BBTV last year announced NBA Playmakers, a fan-focused basketball video network in partnership with the NBA, and recently inked a pact with Univision Communications to manage YouTube channels as well as plans to launch in eight countries in Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

RTL, which is itself majority-owned by Germany’s Bertelsmann, has interests in 60 TV channels and 31 radio stations, along with FremantleMedia’s content production operations and digital-video businesses including fashion and lifestyle network StyleHaul.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • Andrew MorseVariety's Entertainment & Techonology Summit,

    Listen: CNN Digital Chief Says Trump Doesn't Drive Traffic Success

    No subject might get as much attention across CNN’s digital properties as Donald Trump, but that doesn’t mean the news network is dependent on him for web traffic. Andrew Morse, executive VP and general manager of the AT&T-owned company’s digital operations, pointed to recent coverage of natural disasters and international incidents as more potent audience [...]

  • Jonah Hill attends the press conference

    Instagram Debuts Jonah Hill’s ‘Un-filtered’ Bullying Docu-Series (EXCLUSIVE)

    Facebook’s Instagram, as part of its anti-bullying initiatives, funded a new series directed by Jonah Hill featuring teens and young adults talking about their experiences with bullying. The four-episode “Un-filtered” goes live Wednesday (Sept. 18) on Instagram’s IGTV channel on its mobile app and the web. In the unscripted series, Hill interviews people aged 13-25 [...]

  • Plex

    Plex Signs Up Lionsgate for Upcoming Ad-Supported Video Service

    Media center app maker Plex has struck a deal with Lionsgate to add some of the studio’s movies and TV shows to its upcoming ad-supported video service. The news comes just weeks after Plex announced a similar deal with Warner Bros. “Lionsgate is one of the biggest names in the business and we know our [...]

  • Comcast Xfinity Flex

    Comcast Drops $5 Monthly Fee for Xfinity Flex Video-Streaming Set-Top for Broadband Customers

    Comcast will hand out one free set-top box for broadband subscribers to access Xfinity Flex, its video-streaming product for internet-only customers, as it looks to punch up the value of its high-speed internet business. Brian Roberts, Comcast’s chairman and CEO, announced the new strategy at Goldman Sachs’ Communacopia conference Wednesday in New York. “One of [...]

  • Facebook Portal TV

    Facebook Announces $149 Portal TV Device, 2 New Portal Smart Displays

    Facebook wants you to put a camera into your living room: The company officially unveiled its Portal TV device Wednesday that brings video chatting, augmented reality (AR) and Facebook Watch to any TV set. In addition, the company also unveiled two new Portal smart display devices that are aggressively priced to grow the company’s home [...]

  • Milford Sound, Fiordland National Park, South

    Amazon’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ Series to Shoot in New Zealand

    Amazon Studios has set New Zealand as the location for its upcoming series production of “The Lord of the Rings,” following in the footsteps of the movies made by Peter Jackson. Pre-production on the series has started, and production on the series will begin in Auckland in the coming months. “We knew we needed to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content