Bertelsmann takes majority stake in pan-European broadcaster

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Guetersloh/Brussels -- Propelling Bertelsmann's ambitions to head the region's entertainment business, German media giant Bertelsmann has gained control of the London-based RTL Group by raising its stake in the pan-European broadcaster to 67% under a share-swap deal.

Under the deal, Bertelsmann has bought the additional 30% shares from Groupe Bruxelles Lambert (GBL) which conversely takes over 25.1% of Bertelsmann. GBL's stock is majority-owned by private entrepreneurs Albert Frere and Paul Desmarais.

The RTL Group was created in April 2000 through the merger of CLT-UFA and the U.K.'s Pearson Television. The group comprises 22 TV and 18 radio stations in 11 countries, as well as being a leading producer of TV moves, second only to Hollywood, and Europe's leading sports rights marketer. The RTL Group posted sales of $4.2 billion last year.

Copyright February 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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