Another major media company merger is underway in Europe, as broadcasters endeavor to meet the challenges brought on by global streamers.
This time, it’s RTL Nederland and John de Mol’s Talpa Network that are moving to merge, with the aim of creating, in their words, “a strong Dutch cross-media group across TV, streaming, radio, print and digital… to the benefit of audiences and the Dutch creative industry.”
Under the terms of the deal, Talpa Network will contribute its TV, radio, print, digital, e-commerce and other assets to receive a 30 per cent stake in the enlarged RTL Nederland. Meanwhile, Luxembourg-headquartered RTL Group will remain the controlling shareholder of RTL Nederland, owning 70 per cent of the combined entity.
Sven Sauvé, CEO of RTL Nederland, will lead the combined group after closing the transaction. Pim Schmitz, CEO of Talpa Network, will join the new supervisory board of RTL Nederland which will be chaired by Elmar Heggen, COO and deputy CEO of RTL Group.
As well, Talpa Network’s content units (Talpa Concepts, Talpa Entertainment Producties) –- which are not part of the deal –- and RTL Nederland will enter into a content agreement for newly developed formats for linear TV channels and for RTL’s Dutch streaming service Videoland.
The transaction, which has been approved by the boards of directors of RTL Group and Talpa Holding, is subject to approval from competition authorities and is expected to close in the first half of 2022.
While financial terms for the deal were not disclosed, the combined group would have 2020 revenue of €909 million (or approximately US$1,084,723,335.00) and operating profit (EBITA) of €84 million (or $101,841,636 in U.S. currency). The annual content spend of the combined group amounts to more than €400 million (or US$477,288,000). The potential synergies of the merger (EBITA run-rate impact) are estimated between €100 million and €120 million per year, to be fully realized in 2025.
In May, RTL Group announced another merger involving one of its European broadcast properties — tying up its Groupe M6 with Groupe Bouygues’ TF1. Again, one of the primary reasons cited for the deal was to “master the challenges arising from the accelerating competition with global platforms.”
“Following the proposed merger of Groupe TF1 and Groupe M6 in France, the combination of RTL Nederland and Talpa Network is the second major step to scale up our broadcasting businesses across our European footprint,” said RTL Group CEO Thomas Rabe (pictured, left) in a statement. “The new cross-media group will have the size, resources and creativity to compete with global tech platforms in the Netherlands when it comes to investing in premium content, offering the most advanced addressable advertising opportunities, and expanding Videoland, the leading national streaming service for Dutch viewers.”
“I started Talpa Network to build a strong Dutch media company able to compete with the growing global platforms in order to preserve local content,” offered Talpa Network owner John de Mol (pictured, top). “This next step will allow us to do just that — and I am pleased that the deal creates a strong Dutch company that not only guarantees Dutch quality content, but is also able to take on the American and Chinese tech players. On top of that, it allows me to fully focus once again on what I like best: the creation and development of new innovative content.”