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IRIS 2003-1:8/14


RTL and AOL Time Warner Take Over n-tv

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Carmen Palzer

Institute of European Media Law (EMR), Saarbrücken/Brussels

On 12 November 2002, the Kommission zur Ermittlung der Konzentration im Medienbereich (Commission on Concentration in the Media - KEK), which is responsible for monitoring media concentration in Germany, provisionally approved the acquisition of shares in news broadcaster n-tv by RTL Television GmbH (RTL), which is part of the RTL Group. The decision was given on the proviso that, if the RTL Group attains a dominant position, measures will be taken to guarantee diversity of opinion. RTL will acquire the stakes of GWF Gesellschaft für Wirtschaftsfernsehen mbH & Co. KG (47.33 %), Verlag Norman Rentrop (1.6 %) and n-tv Nachrichtenfernsehen Beteiligungs GmbH & Co. Investitions KG (0.26 %). RTL will therefore control 49.19 % of n-tv, while CNN Germany Inc. part of AOL Time Warner will hold 25.54 %, Time Warner Entertainment Germany GmbH & Co. Medienvertrieb OHG 24.27 %, Karl-Ulrich Kuhlo 0.75 % and the DFA Deutsche Fernsehnachrichten Agentur 0.25 %. n-tv will therefore be jointly controlled by RTL and AOL Time Warner.

The take-over of n-tv by RTL and AOL Time Warner had been cleared by the European Commission one week previously. It had been announced in accordance with Articles 4 and 3.1 (b) of the Merger Control Regulation (EEC Regulation No. 4064/89). Since n-tv was a very small player on the German free-TV market, the Commission judged that the take-over would only have a minor impact on RTL's market position and would not lead to the creation or strengthening of a dominant position.

Pressemitteilung der Kommission zur Ermittlung der Konzentration im Medienbereich, 13. November 2002 DE
  Press release of the Commission on Concentration in the Media, 13 November 2002