RTL Group puts M6 up for sale again after failed merger with TF1

RTL Group puts M6 up for sale again after failed merger with TF1

After the failure of its merger with TF1, which belongs to the Bouygues group, for competition reasons, the television and radio group M6 is again the subject of a “market test” by its owner RTL Group, subsidiary of the German Bertelsmann, AFP learned on Thursday. “Since the announcement last Friday (of the abandonment of the merger with TF1), we have been inundated with expressions of interest in buying out our stake in M6. This is why we are testing the market,” a spokesperson for RTL Group told AFP, confirming information from the Financial Times.

According to the economic daily, takeover candidates are asked to make themselves known and send their offers before Friday. The German giant Bertelsmann holds through its subsidiary RTL Group some 48% of the capital of the M6 ​​group. Among the television and radio channels belonging to the M6 ​​group are M6, W9, 6ter, Teva, Gulli, RTL, RTL2 and Fun Radio. At the start of 2021, Bertelsmann wished to withdraw from the French market and following an initial market test had made the risky choice of a merger with TF1, M6’s leading competitor in France.

Bolloré or Berlusconi likely to be interested

A “marriage” finally canceled due to the reluctance of the French competition authority, which demanded drastic remedies to avoid the establishment of a dominant player in the market. At the time, several big names in the French media such as Vincent Bolloré via Vivendi, Xavier Niel or Daniel Kretinsky, but also Europeans had expressed their interest in taking over the group, and are likely to submit an offer again. Other European players are mentioned in the press, in particular the Italian billionaire Silvio Berlusconi via the MediaForEurope group.

In a statement made by the group’s spokesperson, RTL Group indicated that it was “in no hurry to sell M6”: “We believe that consolidation will take place sooner or later on the French market, with different options. We are patient and can wait. An astonishing declaration when the timetable seems tight, because after the renewal of M6’s broadcasting authorization, which expires in May 2023, the channel will no longer be able to change shareholders for 5 years. “We will decide based on the test whether we sell or not,” the spokesperson continued.

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