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12/11/2002

Closer ties between five and BSkyB would be "welcomed" by RTL

Didier Bellens, the chief executive of the RTL Group, which owns UK broadcaster five, are reportedly seeking to forge closer links with BSkyB, including programme cross-promotion.
Bellens said there had been no formal discussions with BSkyB, but it is rumoured that both companies would combine their advertising sales houses if Granada and Carlton Communications got their ITV merger past regulators.
However, Bellens told the Wall Street Journal Europe he "doubted" a shareholding deal could be reached between both companies.
RTL has a strict policy of controlling their broadcasting assets, and would not want to dilute their 65% stake in five.
Rupert Murdoch ruled out a takeover move on five, saying he was "not interested" in terrestrial TV, even though forthcoming media legislation will lift the ban on national newspaper owners owning five.
However, analysts believe in the long term there is plenty of room for manoeuvre, but in the immediate future cross-promotion, with advertising for each other's businesses, seems to be the most likely area of cooperation.
(GB)
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