(News Bulletin 247) – The M6 title fell sharply on the Paris Stock Exchange. The Bertelsmann group is renouncing to sell its stake it holds in the private channel, citing too high risks and legal uncertainties to pursue the operation.
M6 is no longer for sale. At least in the next five years. The Bertelsmann group has given up selling the 48% stake it holds in the M6 channel. The speculative aspect of the file falls like a soufflé, explaining the fall of the M6 title on the Paris Stock Exchange. The action drops more than 10% to 11.54 euros and shows the largest drop in the SBF 120 in a euphoric Parisian market.
However, the suitors jostled at the gate to afford M6 after the failure of the merger with TF1. At least three takeover proposals have been filed with Bertelsmann. A duo formed by Xavier Niel (Iliad group) and MediaForEurope (the television group founded by Silvio Berlusconi), a trio made up of Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière, FL Entertainment (the listed audiovisual production and sports betting group controlled by Frenchman Stéphane Courbit) and Rodolphe Saadé, the boss of the shipping giant CMA-CGM, were thus in the running to acquire 48% of the capital of the M6 group which is in the hands of Bertelsmann. For his part, the Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky intended to go it alone.
An offer of 20 euros per share had even been formulated by the trio Stéphane Courbit, Rodolphe Saadé and Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière, valuing Bertelsmann’s participation at around 1.2 billion euros.
But a mountain of regulatory hurdles overcame the group’s determination to sell its stake in France’s second-largest private television group. RTL Group has therefore decided to throw in the towel in the face of the “legal risks and uncertainties” linked to the approval of the competition authorities.
A tight schedule
The timing was tight for the Bertelsmann group. M6 must see its DTT broadcasting license renewed next May and will also have to submit a file in this regard from the beginning of next year. After this deadline of May 2023, any new change of control will be impossible for five years.
M6 wants to zap these failures and is now looking to the future. “The group will remain the pivot of a consolidation of the French television industry. We remain attractive for local and international partners” declared its chairman of the management board, Nicolas de Tavernost, in an interview with the Figaro. The channel thus intends to forge new partnerships to develop its video streaming and content activities: “Nothing prevents us from collaborating in one form or another with other partners” added Nicolas de Tavernost.