European broadcast giant RTL Group is planning to exit the Russian market after reportedly failing to gain control of leading channel operator National Media Group.
Last week, RTL revealed it was exercising a put option to sell the 7.5% stake it owns in NMG. The value of the stake was €81 milion (US$108 million), RTL added. The transaction will go ahead on September 16.
Yesterday, Bloomberg quoted an RTL spokesman as saying of the move, “Generally, we aim to have operational control, or at least there should be a credible path to it,” though further details were not forthcoming.
NMG, which is owned by billionaire media tycoon Yury Kovalchuk, has stakes in three of the four leading Russian channels, including FTA market leader Channel One.
RTL’s content arm FremantleMedia still has a production base in Russia that will be unaffected by the exit.
RTL took its stake in NMG two years ago after swapping it for a 30% stake in broadcaster Ren TV.
RTL couldn’t be contact for comment before press time this morning.
Last week, the Bertelsmann-owned channels group posted strong half year results, in which it quietly revealed the plan to exit Russia.