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Bertelsmann Orchestrates Deals For Music Web

Eyeing the music television biz, German media giant Bertelsmann may end up the majority shareholder in fast expanding German music channel Viva if a series of deals come off.

Bertelsmann will acquire an 18.9% stake held by U.K. music giant EMI if a proposed merger between Bertelsmann’s music division BMG and EMI goes ahead. Company is considering the acquisition of an additional 12.1% stake held by German music group Edel Music.

Listed on Germany’s Neuer Markt exchange, Viva is expanding across Europe and has set up outposts in Poland and Hungary, with Switzerland and Italy to follow this year. Company is also looking to expand into Spain and the U.K.

In its home territory of Germany, web drew 5.7 million 14- to 49-year-olds daily in January compared to 3.7 million for rival MTV.

Viva managing director Dieter Gorny said recently that several parties, including Bertelsmann’s TV division RTL Group, had expressed an interest in Viva’s struggling second channel, Viva 2.

Viva is owned by EMI, Warner, Edel and Universal.

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