RTL Group finally gives up selling M6

The Bertelsmann Group has decided to give time to time. “We worked for almost two years in a consolidation of the sector. This project was probably too soon. We are sorry”, lamented Nicolás de Tavernost.

The sale of the M6 ​​group will not take place. On Monday afternoon, after a weekend of reflection, the Bertelsmann group decided to give time to time. “We received three offers, all of them of great quality. Our shareholder RTL Group, in consultation with us, however, considered that it was necessary to work better on stability given a complex regulatory framework, says Nicolas de Tavernost, chairman of the M6 ​​board of directors 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, associated with Rodolphe Saadé, the head of the shipping giant CMA-CGM, and Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière (Fimalac). The second of the couple formed by Xavier Niel, head of Free and MediaForEurope, the Berlusconi family group. The third, finally, formulated by the Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky, who has a press group in France with CMI (she, mariana).

The former even valued Bertelsmann’s stake in M6 at around €1.2bn, or €20 per share. This represented a premium of approximately 57% compared to the current price of the share, about 12.40 euros. But selling M6, after the aborted merger with TF1, involved many pitfalls. After recalling in a press release that “M6 is one of the best managed television companies in Europe“Thomas Rabe, CEO of Bertelsmann, which owns M6 through RTL Group, precisely justified his decision to keep his 48.3% stake in “excessive legal risks and uncertainties“.

Benoît Coeuré, president of the Competition Authority (ADLC), and Roch-Olivier Maistre, president of Arcom had warned, last week before the Senate, that the calendar was “excited”. Indeed, the authorization to broadcast M6 on DTT must be renewed in May 2023 by Arcom. After this time, any change in frequency control will be impossible for five years, as established by law. Problem, the study of a capital change, subject to the control of Arcom or even to the green light of the Competition Authority, would have required more time. Too long, there was hollow made understand the Arcom and the ADLC.

We worked for almost two years in a consolidation of the sector. This project was probably too soon. we sorry“, estimated Nicholas of Tavernost. The page has now been turned and M6 wants to move on. “I am delighted to see the interest in our group. He was very strong. The group will continue to be the axis of the consolidation of the French television industry. We remain attractive to local and international partners. RTL does not plan to relinquish control of M6. But nothing prevents us from collaborating in one way or another with other partners.“.

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

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