January 5, 2012 / 6:30 PM / 7 years ago

RTL exits Greek broadcasting as crisis crushes ads

FRANKFURT, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Europe’s biggest commercial broadcaster RTL Group is giving up on the Greek broadcasting market as the country’s debt-induced economic crisis crushes advertising revenue.

RTL said in a statement it would sell its 70 percent stake in Alpha Media Group to minority stakeholder and Greek entrepreneur Dimitris Contominas, making him once again sole owner of the group. RTL declined to disclose financial terms.

“Given the heavy and ongoing economic and financial crisis in Greece, we have eventually decided to exit the Greek market,” RTL Group Chief Executive Gerhard Zeiler said in the statement on Thursday.

The Greek advertising market has fallen by more than 50 percent over the last three years, the company said.

RTL, majority owned by media group Bertelsmann, said it would remain active in Greece with its content production and sales arm, FreemantelMedia.

RTL paid about 126 million euros ($161 million) for a nearly 67 percent stake in Alpha in 2008. ($1 = 0.7817 euros) (Reporting by Jonathan Gould)

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