The German media giant, a skilled player in the poker game of acquisitions, has called the bluff of certain minority shareholders in Europe’s largest free-to-air broadcaster RTL Group.

Bertelsmann agreed in December to buy a 22% stake in RTL from UK group Pearson at E44 ($39.20) a share for the 11% it doesn't already own – E1.5 billion in total – thereby raising its overall stake to 89% [WAMN: 27-Dec-01]. It is now eager to buy at the same price the residual shares, thereby topping-up its holding to one hundred percent [09-Jan-02].

But some minority shareholders in RTL demand that Bertelsmann dig deeper into its piggybank. On Thursday the privately owned Guetersloh-based media titan gave full and fair consideration to the request for all of a nanosecond: “Bertelsmann won't increase its offer,” came the terse answer.

Blustered one dissident minority investor, Alain Georges, chairman of Luxembourg-based BGL Investment Partners: “We won't accept the offer and will make life as difficult as possible for Bertelsmann.”

News source: Wall Street Journal