Bertelsmann-controlled broadcaster RTL Group is considering an investment in HOT Networks, parent of the five Home Shopping Europe channels in Germany, the UK, France, Italy, Britain and the Netherlands.

RTL has reportedly entered talks with HOT founder Georg Kofler, who – with Thomas Kirch (son of beleaguered tycoon Leo) – holds a majority stake in the teleshopping group. American firm Home Shopping Network owns 47%.

With its fingers still burning from the ad recession, the Bertelsmann unit is eager to find alternative revenue sources, such as home shopping.

HOT’s channels reach about 61 million homes, but it has found increasing its profile outside Germany difficult and costly – its German division saw profits tumble from €23m (£14.3m; $20.8m) in 2000 to €2.6m last year.

Data sourced from: Handelsblatt (Germany); additional content by WARC staff