CLT-UFA gains majority shareholding in VOX television station
Luxembourg, 23 December 1999
CLT-UFA, Europe's leading broadcasting corporation, has reached an agreement in principle with News Corporation concerning the future of German Free TV station, VOX. For a sum of DM 650 million, CLT-UFA is taking over the 49.9% shareholding in the Cologne-based station hitherto owned by News Corporation. With a total stake of 74.8%, CLT-UFA is now the majority shareholder of VOX. Part of the package includes the renewal of an agreement guaranteeing CLT-UFA's supply of programming from Hollywood Studios 20th Century Fox in which News Corporation holds a majority interest.
According to Michael Dornemann, Divisional Chairman for Television at Bertelsmann AG which holds a 50% stake in CLT-UFA: "Gaining a majority at VOX represents the logical consequence of our strategic focus on Free TV. It allows us to further expand CLT-UFA's leading position in the German Free TV market."
Rolf Schmidt-Holtz, Chairman of CLT-UFA, commented: "We are pleased with this move and aim to build on VOX's upward momentum. CLT-UFA now has an opportunity to further sharpen VOX's profile. Working in concert with RTL Television and the stations RTLII and SuperRTL, we will be able to offer even more attractive programming to the German audience."
The agreement is subject to board approval by both companies and is still awaiting the go-ahead from anti-trust and public media institutions.
CLT-UFA is the No. 1 in European broadcasting, with shareholdings in 40 radio and television stations, most of whom are market leaders (RTL Television in Germany, RTL Radio in France, HMG in the Netherlands). CLT-UFA also holds interests in numerous production and broadcasting rights distribution companies (including UFA Film and TV Productions in Germany and UFA Sports in Europe). In Germany's commercial TV market, CLT-UFA is majority owner of market leader RTL, holding a 35.9% stake in RTL II and 50% in Super RTL.