On June 11, 2021, the FCO cleared Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA’s (“RTL Group”) acquisition of the remaining 50% shares in RTL Disney Fernsehen GmbH & Co. KG (“Super RTL”) from its co-shareholder The Walt Disney Company (“Disney”). RTL Group and Disney established Super RTL as a joint venture in 1995, each holding 50 percent of the shares in Super RTL. Following the transaction, RTL Group is the sole shareholder of Super RTL.
The FCO conducted a market investigation which confirmed its traditional market definition distinguishing TV advertising from online advertising. While in 2011, the FCO had found RTL Group to hold a joint dominant position in TV advertising with broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 Media, it left open whether this position still persists today. The FCO cleared the transaction in Phase I because the transaction was not expected to substantially strengthen the position of RTL Group. As a jointly controlling shareholder, RTL Group already benefitted from Super RTL’s advertising activities. In addition, the FCO considered that the separation of Disney from RTL Group as joint-venture partner could have pro-competitive effects.