RTL Group finally gives up selling M6

The Bertelsmann Group has decided to give time to time. “We have been working on consolidating the industry for almost two years. This project was probably too early. We regret that,” said Nicolas de Tavernost.

The sale of the M6 ​​group does not take place. On Monday evening, after a weekend of reflection, the Bertelsmann Group decided to give time its time. “We received three offers, all of high quality. However, our shareholder RTL Group, in consultation with us, believed that there was a need to work better on stability in the face of a complex regulatory framework, points out Nicolas de Tavernost, CEO of M6, before adding: “ I am very happy to continue the adventure with RTL Group that has accompanied our success story for 35 years“.

At the end of last week, three firm offers were on the table. The premiere of FL Entertainment, world leader in audiovisual production (Banijay), controlled by Stéphane Courbit, linked to Rodolphe Saadé, boss of the shipping giant CMA-CGM, and Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière (Fimalac). The second in the group is Xavier Niel, head of Free and MediaForEurope, the Berlusconi family group. Finally, the third, formulated by the Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky, who has a press group in France with CMI (You, Marianne).

The first rated the Bertelsmann stake in M6 at around 1.2 billion euros or 20 euros per share. This corresponded to a premium of around 57% compared to the current share price of around EUR 12.40. But the sale of M6 after the aborted merger with TF1 faced many pitfalls. After being reminded in a press release that “M6 is one of the best managed television companies in Europe‘ Thomas Rabe, CEO of Bertelsmann, owner of M6 via RTL Group, explained his decision to keep his 48.3% stake precisely with ‘excessive legal risks and uncertainties“.

Benoît Coeuré, the President of the Competition Authority (ADLC), and Roch-Olivier Maistre, the President of Arcom, had warned before the Senate last week that the calendar was “excited”. In fact, the license to broadcast M6 on DVB-T must be renewed by Arcom in May 2023. After this point in time, a change in the frequency regulation is excluded for five years, as provided for by law. Problem, investigating a change in capital, subject to Arcom’s control or even the green light from the competition authority, would have taken more time. Too much time that Arcom and the ADLC had made hollow.

We’ve been working on industry consolidation for almost two years. This project was probably too early. We are sorry‘ estimates Nicolas de Tavernost. The page is now turned and M6 wants to continue. “I am pleased that you are interested in our group. He was very strong. The group will remain the linchpin of a consolidation of the French television industry. We remain attractive to local and international partners. RTL does not plan to give up control of M6. But nothing prevents us from collaborating with other partners in one form or another.“.

SEE ALSO – TF1 and M6 announce the abandonment of their fusion project

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