by Klaus Lauer
BERLIN/FRANKFURT (Reuters) – RTL Group is expecting non-binding takeover bids for its 48.3% stake in M6 by Friday at the latest after the latter’s proposed merger with TF1 failed, an official told Reuters. source close to the case.
Asked, RTL and its parent company Bertelsmann declined to comment.
On the Paris Stock Exchange, the M6 share gained 5.02% in the middle of the afternoon.
Since the announcement last week of the cancellation of the proposed merger, RTL has been “inundated” with expressions of interest in buying the stake in M6, said Thursday the boss of RTL, Thomas Rabe, also chairman of the management board of Bertelsmann, to the Financial Times.
“That’s why we are testing the market,” he added. “Based on this test, we will decide whether to sell or not.”
Among the possible candidates for the acquisition of RTL’s shares in M6 is a group of French businessmen including Rodolphe Saadé, the president of the shipping giant CMA CGM, we learned from another source familiar with the matter. .
CMA CGM said it does not comment on market rumours.
Other potential buyers include Vivendi, which already owns Canal+, and Altice, which owns BFMTV and RMC, as well as Italy’s MediaForEurope (MFE), the former Mediaset.
Vivendi, Altice and MFE declined to comment on this information.
RTL and the Bouygues group, owner of TF1, announced last Friday the abandonment of the merger project between TF1 and M6 because they had not overcome the reluctance of the Competition Authority.
If RTL wants to withdraw from M6, it must do so before next May because the renewal of the authorization for the French channel will then prevent any sale by its main shareholder for five years.
At the current stock market price, RTL Group’s 48.3% stake in M6 is valued at just under 780 million euros. In March 2021, when Bertelsmann first confirmed its intention to sell it, it was estimated at 1.5 billion.
(Reporting Klaus Lauer in Berlin and Elvira Pollina in Milan, with Gus Trompiz in Paris; Claude Chendjou and Marc Angrand, editing by Kate Entringer)
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