The proposals were presented by a tandem formed by Xavier Niel (Iliad group) and MediaForEurope (the television group founded by Silvio Berlusconi), by the Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky, already present in various French media, and by FL Entertainment, the side of the Audiovisual production and sports betting group controlled by Frenchman Stéphane Courbit, associated in particular for the occasion with Rodolphe Saadé, the boss of the maritime transport giant CMA-CGM.
Contacted on Saturday, RTL Group declined to comment. 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).
Bertelsmann “no rush”
At the beginning of 2021, Bertelsmann, who wants to withdraw from the French market, had made the risky choice of a merger of 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, according to it, would have distorted the advertising market in particular.
Following this cancellation, Bertelsmann launched a new “market test”. He had invited groups interested in taking over M6 to come forward before Friday afternoon.
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.