RTL-Talpa merger dropped amid antitrust concerns – The Hollywood Reporter

European media giant RTL Group has abandoned plans to merge its Dutch television operations, RTL Nederland, with Talpa Networks, the TV group controlled by the TV mogul and voice creator John de Mol.

RTL Group on Monday said Dutch competition authority ACM had informed it it plans to block the deal, first announced in 2021, which will create a media giant image in the area.

This is the second time in less than a year that RTL has seen its expansion plans thwarted by regional competition authorities. Last September, RTL abandoned a deal to merge French commercial network M6 with French broadcaster TF1 after French antitrust authorities opposed the move.

RTL’s strategy, in France and the Netherlands, is to create “local language champions” that are large enough in their individual markets to compete with Netflix and global streaming services. is different. The success of streaming platforms poses a threat to traditional free-to-air TV networks in Europe, which are not used to competing with such wealthy tech companies for local viewers. .

But the Dutch authorities saw things differently. In a statement, RTL said ACM believes the RTL-Talpa merger would violate Dutch antitrust law as the new company will have a near monopoly in the local TV advertising market. Talpa proposed outsourcing its ad-selling operations to a third party, Mediahuis Nederland, but according to RTL, the proposal was “not sufficient to mitigate [ACM’s] concerns.

RTL and Talpa criticized the ACM’s decision, saying that the Dutch authorities “did not take into account the speed and extent of change in the Dutch media landscape and the impact of these changes on media companies”. local…the merger of RTL Nederland and Talpa Network would have been the right strategic response to the challenges posed by increasing competition with international platforms.”

It may take a few weeks before ACM makes a final decision, but RTL and Talpa have scrapped the deal. In a statement, RTL CEO Thomas Rabe said RTL Nederland “is and will remain a key asset of the RTL Group” and that the company still believes “market consolidation is necessary to compete with other competitors.” global technology platform – and that market consolidation will happen in the European TV market sooner or later.”


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