Bertelsmann Reduces Stake in European Broadcaster RTL to 75.1 Percent

1:12 AM PST 10/03/2013 by Scott Roxborough
Bertelsmann CEO Thomas Rabe plans to spend up to $4 billion on acquisitions over the next 3 years.

The German media giant sold shares worth around $205 million in the owner of “American Idol” producer FremantleMedia.

Bertelsmann has completed the sale of a further 1.3 percent stake in leading European broadcaster RTL Group for some $205 million (€151.6 million).

The German-based conglomerate said it has successfully placed some two million ordinary shares of RTL Group with institutional investors.

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The offer comprised the shares of an over-allotment option, a so-called Greenshoe option, which had not been exercised in Bertelsmann's sale, earlier this year, of around 17 percent of RTL.

All told, the RTL share sale has poured some $2 billion into Bertelsmann's coffers, cash company CEO Thomas Rabe has said he plans to use making acquisitions aimed at making the traditional and Eurocentric media company more international and digitally savvy.

Bertelsmann retains a 75.1 percent majority stake in RTL Group, which owns 53 TV channels in 10 countries as well as production group FremantleMedia, makers of American Idol and The X Factor.

Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley acted as joint bookrunners on the RTL share sale.

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