European Commission clears sports rights merger between Groupe Jean-Claude Darmon, Canal+ Group and RTL Group

Paris/ Brussels/ Luxembourg, 13 November 2001. - The European Commission has granted full approval for the merger between the sports rights activities of Groupe Jean-Claude Darmon, Sport+, a subsidiary of Canal+ Group, and UFA Sports, the sports rights business of RTL Group. The merger, first announced in May, will create a leading European venture with a broad range of international TV and marketing sports rights. It is subject to the approval of Groupe Jean-Claude Darmon’s Extraordinary General Meeting on 5 December 2001 which will also approve the name of the new group, SPORTFIVE. The new group will be headquartered in Paris.

With the completion of the merger, Canal+ Group and RTL Group will launch a public offer to the minority shareholders of Groupe Jean-Claude Darmon to sell their shares for Euro 155 per share, ex dividend. After having equalized their respective stakes, Canal+ Group and RTL Group will own between 39.5 per cent and 46.5 per cent of Groupe Jean-Claude Darmon, depending on the outcome of the tender offer. The company will hold a 2 per cent treasury stock while Jean-Claude Darmon will hold 5 per cent.

Jean-Claude Darmon will be Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the new group. Bernd Hoffmann from UFA Sports and Jérôme Valcke from Sport+ will both be appointed Chief Operating Officers (COO).

“We are pleased to have obtained the European Commission’s clearance”, says Jean-Claude Darmon. “The merger leads our sports rights activities into new dimensions. It creates a strong and autonomous player in the highly competitive sports rights market.”

The merged group combines annual revenues of over Euro 570 million and EBITA (Earnings before interest, tax and amortization of goodwill) of Euro 49 million (based on combined figures for 2000). It manages TV and marketing sports rights contracts with a number of football clubs, federations, confederations and leagues across the world. Furthermore, it is active in other disciplines such as handball, rugby and tennis. It offers a full range of sport marketing and communication services and employs about 350 people in various offices worldwide.


For further inquiries:
Groupe Jean-Claude Darmon:
Jean-Louis Dutaret,
Tel. : +331 55 07 10 59
Pierre Lelong,
Tel. : +331 55 07 10 78
Canal+ Group:
Sylvie Ruggieri,
Tel.: +33 1 44 25 16 75
Jean-Louis Erneux,
Tel.: +33 1 44 25 75 81
Marine Lemonnier,
Tel.: +33 1 44 25 16 23
RTL Group:
Markus Payer,
Tel.: +352 42142 5020



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