Bertelsmann Said to Hire Deutsche Bank for RTL Stake Sale

Bertelsmann SE, Europe’s largest media company, has selected six banks including Deutsche Bank AG and Morgan Stanley to manage a 1.9 billion-euro ($2.5 billion) share sale in broadcaster RTL Group SA, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The other banks include Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., Credit Suisse Group AG and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., the people said, declining to be named before an announcement. The sale may happen by the second quarter, the people said.

Bertelsmann, which owns 92.3 percent of RTL’s stock, said on Jan. 31 that it would cut its stake to 75 percent. RTL’s shares fell 0.74 percent to 68.60 euros in Brussels. They have dropped 9.1 percent this year.

Christian Steinhof, a spokesman for Guetersloh, Germany-based Bertelsmann, declined to comment. Spokespeople at Bank of America, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs in London declined to comment.

Bertelsmann and KKR

Paring back the stake in RTL would free Bertelsmann funds for a larger acquisition, with potential targets including Deutsche Telekom AG’s online-classified business Scout24 Holding GmbH, as well as Springer Science & Business Media, the German academic publisher owned by EQT Partners AB, a person familiar with the matter has said.

Bertelsmann is also in talks to buy the 51 percent of BMG’s music-rights unit that it doesn’t already own from KKR & Co., according to two people familiar with the matter. An agreement could be reached in the coming weeks, though talks remain fluid, they said, asking not to be identified because negotiations are private.

A deal could value the stake at as much as 500 million euros, one of the people said. A KKR spokeswoman declined to comment.

Companies in Europe, the Middle East and Africa have raised more than $13 billion in share sales this year, compared with $8 billion in the same period a year earlier, the data show. Deutsche Annington Immobilien AG, Germany’s biggest residential landlord, chose JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley to help manage its initial public offering, two people with knowledge of the decision said today.

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