Fremantle-owner RTL Group sells Belgian arm for $300m

European broadcaster RTL Group has sold its Belgian division, including three channels and streamer RTL Play, to DPG Media and Groupe Rossel for €250m ($300m).

RTL Group assumed full ownership of RTL Belgium in December 2020, having spent 33 years as its majority shareholder, but is now offloading the division as part of a Europe-wide consolidation strategy.

The deal, which is subject to regulatory clearances, is expected to close in Q4 and will see DPG – which owns Flemish broadcaster VTM – and publisher Groupe Rossel take over RTL Belgium’s three French-language FTA channels: flagship RTL-TVI; kids and sports-focused Club RTL; and youth-skewing Plug RTL.

Elmar Heggen

The acquisition also includes RTL Belgium’s radio stations, streaming service RTL Play and news site WRTInfo.be.

Wider story

The sale marks part of RTL Group’s plan to consolidate its interests, including the merger of its French network M6 with TF1. The company also unveiled a deal last week with John de Mol’s Talpa Network that will create a unified cross-media group join the Netherlands.

Bertelsmann-owned RTL, which in turn is the parent company of Fremantle, has previously said that it has an ongoing strategy to create “local-language champions” across the continent.

Elmar Heggen, COO and deputy CEO of RTL Group, described DPG and Groupe Rossel as “strong cross-media companies” that would be “well equipped to accelerate RTL Belgium’s digital transformation.”

Heggen added: “The sale is in line with our strategy and the best strategic option for RTL Belgium, its dedicated employees and our shareholders.”

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