23 July 2010, Luxembourg
RTL Group, the leading European entertainment network, announced today that it has signed an agreement for the sale of Five Group (“Five”) to the Northern & Shell company owned by British publisher Richard Desmond. The deal is closed with immediate effect. The total cash consideration payable to RTL Group for its 100 per cent shareholding in Five will be EUR 125 million (GBP 103.5 million).
Gerhard Zeiler, Chief Executive Officer of RTL Group, said: “With a significant recovery of the UK TV advertising market and Five performing well in the first half of 2010, we saw a window of opportunity to realise a transaction based on a fair evaluation of Five. The disposal is in line with RTL Group’s strategy of being number one or two in each of our markets. I would like to thank the whole team at Five and CEO & Chair Dawn Airey for their passion and professionalism, especially in the difficult past 20 months which saw a comprehensive restructuring of the company.”
JP Morgan has acted as exclusive financial advisor to RTL Group in this transaction.
About RTL Group
RTL Group is the leading European entertainment network, with interests in 42 television channels and 31 radio stations in ten countries and content production throughout the world. The television portfolio of Europe’s largest broadcaster includes RTL Television in Germany, M6 in France, the RTL channels in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Croatia and Hungary, Alpha TV in Greece, Ren TV in Russia and Antena 3 in Spain. RTL Group’s flagship radio station is RTL in France, and it also owns or has interests in other stations in France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and Luxembourg. RTL Group's content production arm, FremantleMedia, is one of the largest international producers outside the US. Each year, it produces 9,500 hours of programming across 57 countries.
About Five Group
Channel 5 started broadcasting on 30 March 1997 and was rebranded Five in August 2002. Digital channels Five Life (now Fiver) and Five US (now Five USA) launched in October 2006. Five was the first terrestrial broadcaster to offer a download service when it launched Five Download in September 2006. The service was re-launched as Five Demand in June 2008, including a 30-day catch-up service for a significant percentage of Five’s peak time schedule, followed by an HD channel on satellite in July 2010. For the year ending December 2009, Five was the only major family of channels to increase its adult viewing share to 6.3 per cent; it had a net TV advertising market share of 8.4 per cent.