The RTL Group European media heavyweight has struck a deal to sell off its RTL channels in the Netherlands to DPG Media.

The deal is valued at €1.1 billion ($1.2 billion), and will entail RTL and DPG Media entering into a technological strategic partnership, and also collaborating across ad sales and content.

After the deal concludes, for the next three years the RTL broadcasters in Germany, France, and Hungary will have first rights to any program developed by RTL Nederland.

In terms of sports rights, RTL currently holds free-to-air rights in the Netherlands to European soccer’s UEFA Champions League and Europa League for the 2021-22 to 2023-24 cycle.

DPG will continue using the RTL Nederland branding on its channels in the Netherlands until the end of 2034.

The deal is still subject to the usual regulatory approvals and a consultation process and is expected to close in the middle of next year.

This agreement has been unveiled almost a year after an attempted merger between RTL in the Netherlands and rival Talpa Network collapsed, following a Dutch competition regulator blocking the move.

In January, the Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) said the merger between the two media heavyweights – first unveiled in June 2021 – would create an entity that was too powerful in terms of TV advertising and the distribution of channels.

Thomas Rabe, RTL Group’s chief executive, has said: “For several years, we have consistently said that market consolidation in the European TV industry is necessary to compete with the global tech giants. After our in-country consolidation strategy was blocked by the competition authorities in January 2023, the sale to DPG Media is the best strategic option for RTL Nederland and all its stakeholders.

“We are looking forward to the strategic partnership with DPG Media, working closely together on European solutions in advertising and streaming technology, international advertising sales, and joint content development.”

RTL Nederland currently operates five FTA channels, three on digital pay-TV, and the streaming service Videoland.

Christian Van Thillo, executive chair at DPG Media Group, added: “Together with our leading TV brands VTM and RTL Belgium, we will be able to build a group that has the necessary scale to invest in the digital transformation of television.

“I am looking forward to working with the leadership team of RTL Nederland, and I am also very pleased that we will build a strategic partnership with RTL Group.”