M6 has only one month left to find a buyer after the failure of the merger with TF1

After the failure of the merger with TF1, the German group Bertlesmann enters a rather tense race against time. Indeed, the current owner of M6 has only one month left to finalize an agreement with a buyer. We explain why.

Credits: M6

Xavier Niel was afraid that the merger between TF1 and M6 would create a monster. The boss of Free can be reassured, as you know, the marriage between the two groups will not take place. In a press release published on September 16, 2022, the two channels announced that they were putting an end to the merger project, in particular due to the requirements of the Competition Authority.

Only, this abortive union is far, very far, from doing business for the Bertelsmann group, the current owner of M6. Indeed, if the German company wants to sell the channel to get out of the French market, she should do it in less than a month. What you agree does not put the company in a position of strength in future negotiations with potential buyers.

One month to sell M6, no more

Why such a short time? The reason is very simple. As the president of the French Competition Authority Benoit Coeuré explained during a hearing in the Senate, M6’s authorization to broadcast on DTT must be renewed by ARCOM in May 2023.

However, as provided by law, this renewal prohibits any change of control frequency, for a period of 5 years. According to the Authority, “if the operation is not notified to us before the end of October, it will be difficult, and it is in any case very tense”. To hope to be in the nails, the Bertelsmann group will have to have finalized the conditions of sale before this deadline.

Three buyers have already made an offer

This is why the German company has already decided “to test the market” in inviting interested buyers to position themselves and make an offer. From what we know for the moment, three serious proposals have been tabled:

  • a first offer comes from a duo formed by Xavier Niel, the CEO of the Illiad group, and by MediaForEurope, a television group created by Silvio Berlusconi, the former Italian president
  • the second offer was issued by Daniel Kretinsky, Czech billionaire and boss of the Czech Media Invest group and indirect shareholder of Le Monde
  • the latest offer comes from FL Entertainment (Betclic) in partnership with Rodolphe Saadé, boss of CMA CGM and recently of the regional daily newspaper La Provence

Only, and as Benoit Coeuré explains, given the diversity of the activities of these potential buyers, the European Commission could look into the matter to ensure that this takeover does not lead to a situation of monopoly or unfair competition. Such a measure takes time, even more if the European institution decides to refer the case to the French authority for additional analysis. According to our colleagues from Le Point, the three buyers have all submitted an offer at more than €19.2 per shareor nearly 1.1 billion euros.

Source: La Tribune

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