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Disney buys German free-to-air channel Das Vierte

Disney plans to acquire German free-to-air channel Das Vierte.

The deal, for an undisclosed sum, means Disney will have full ownership of the channel. It already has a German joint venture channel Super RTL.

The purchase of Das Vierte needs approval from German competition authorities.

Reports linking Disney to a move for Das Vierte first surfaced late last year. The channel was owned by NBCUniversal until 2008 when it was acquired by Russian entrepreneur Dmitry Lesnevsky. Its audience share was about 0.2% last year.

Disney has a 60% share in Super RTL and is also a shareholder in RTL II. Disney also runs a bouquet of pay TV channels, including Disney Channel and Disney XD, in Germany.

The company confirmed the Das Vierte deal although its plans for the channel are not yet clear.

“The Walt Disney Company has signed an agreement to purchase the German broadcast channel Das Vierte, providing Disney with a number of options to expand its broadcast capabilities in Germany,” Disney said.