RTL suffers second regulatory blow as merger with Talpa is blocked

Dutch competition authority the ACM has told RTL Group and Talpa Network that it will not approve the proposed merger between the two companies, initially announced on June 22 2021. The news is the second regulatory blow for RTL in the last six months, after the collapse of the planned merger of RTL-owned M6 and TF1 in France.

Thomas Rabe

According to RTL, the ACM has indicated to the would-be partners that a market test did not sufficiently mitigate its concerns, stopping the current merger process. ACM will likely need a few weeks to finalise the formal decision. In response, RTL said: “RTL Group and Talpa Network regret that ACM did not take into account the speed and extent of the changes in the Dutch media landscape and the impact of these changes on local media companies. They continue to firmly believe that a merger of RTL Nederland and Talpa Network would have been the right strategic response to the challenges resulting from the increased competition with the international platforms.”

RTL CEO Thomas Rabe said he remained “convinced that market consolidation is necessary to compete with the global tech platforms”. But he also sought to reassure investors that RTL Nederland will continue to be a robust business in its own right: “RTL Nederland is and will remain a key asset for RTL Group – it is highly profitable with a strong family of channels which scored excellent audience ratings and financial results in 2022. Under the leadership of CEO Sven Sauvé, RTL Nederland has built Videoland, one of the most successful European streaming services.”

Sven Sauvé, CEO of RTL Nederland, said: “We can assure our viewers, creators and business partners of our unwavering commitment to build on RTL’s strong position as a leading Dutch media company. RTL Nederland is in good shape, we have an excellent workforce and, with the full support of our shareholder, we will continue to expand our position in the TV, digital and streaming domain.”

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