There will be at least three. Three proposals for the purchase of the M6 group from RTL Group, a subsidiary of the German group Bertelsmann which, after the failure of the merger between TF1 and M6, still wants to withdraw from the French market. Three proposals in which three billionaires are the interested parties that were presented on Friday, a deadline set for all possible suitors to position themselves.
More than 1,100 million euros
According to our colleagues at Le Point, first of all there is a candidacy that brings together Rodolphe Saadé, the president of the shipping company CMA CGM who has just got his hands on La Provence. He would ally himself with Entertainment, the listed audiovisual production and sports betting group controlled by Frenchman Stéphane Courbit. On Friday, The Financial Times indicated that Marc Ladreit de la Charrière, president of Fimalac, was part of this consortium. In addition, another proposal comes from a tandem formed by Xavier Niel (Iliad group) and MediaForEurope (the television group founded by Silvio Berlusconi), while the Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky, already present in the capital of Le Monde, will lend 14 million euros to Liberation to guarantee its funding for four years. The battle promises to be tough, as was the battle between Rodolphe Saadé and Xaviel Niel to win La Provence.
According to Le Point, the three candidates have submitted an offer of more than 19.2 euros per share, which represents an investment of 1.1 billion euros to buy the German giant’s stake in M6. Through its subsidiary RTL Group, Bertelsmann owns around 48% of the capital of the M6 group (TV channels M6, W9, 6ter, Teva, Gulli and radio stations RTL, RTL2, Fun Radio). On Friday, M6 was valued at €1.86 billion.
On Friday, several sources indicated to various media that Vivendi of the Bolloré group and Patrick Drahi, president of Altice (which owns BFMTV and RMC) would be in the running.
At the beginning of 2021, Bertelsmann, who wants to withdraw from the French market, made the risky decision to merge M6 with its rival TF1. But this marriage was suddenly canceled a week ago due to the reluctance of the French competition authority, which conditioned its green light on the sale of the TF1 or M6 channels to another actor, to avoid the creation of a giant that would, according to him, significantly distorted the advertising market. Following this cancellation, Bertelsmann launched a new “market test”. He had invited groups interested in taking over M6 to come forward before Friday afternoon. On Friday, some spoke of an offer of Vivendi from the Bolloré group (already owner of Canal+) but also from Altice (Patrick Drahi), owner of BFMTV and RMC.
The German group assures that “it is not in a hurry” to sell, and that it is willing to maintain its stake in M6 if the takeover bids seem insufficient.
But decisions will have to be made quickly, because due to French legislation on television channels, M6 will no longer be able to change shareholders for 5 years after the renewal of its broadcasting authorization, which expires in May 2023.