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Bertelsmann eyes cutting RTL stake to fund expansion plans

FremantleMedia’s X Factor

Germany’s Bertelsmann is considering cutting its stake in pan-European broadcast and production group RTL to raise cash for expansion in other areas.

RTL operates free-to-air channels throughout Europe and also owns production and distribution group FremantleMedia. Bertelsmann currently holds a 92% stake in the company.

RTL said late yesterday that its parent company has notified it that it is considering reducing its holding to about 75%.

RTL said in a statement: “The Board of Directors of RTL Group has been

informed that Bertelsmann is considering a reduction of its shareholding in

RTL Group through a capital market transaction, while maintaining a qualified majority of approximately 75%.”

Divesting a chunk of RTL would net Bertelsmann about €2 billion, which it would invest in to other media sectors and in activities in other international markets.

Bertelsman chief executive Thomas Rabe said: “”RTL Group will remain a successful core business for Bertelsmann, and a strong pillar of our portfolio.”