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Altice France sells RMC owner Altice Media to shipping giant CMA CGM for $1.69bn

Telecoms company Altice France is selling Altice Media, operator of the free-to-air channels RMC Story and RMC Découverte, to French shipping and logistics company CMA CGM Group.

Rodolphe Saadé

Altice France has entered into an exclusive agreement to sell 100% of Altice Media for a total cash consideration of €1.55bn (US$1.69bn).

The transaction, which is subject to customary conditions precedent and regulatory approvals, is expected to be completed during the summer of 2024.

The move comes as telecom giant Altice Group looks to tackle its heavy debts, while cash-rich CMA CGM Group is looking to create a large media conglomerate in France, led by CEO Rodolphe Saadé. It already holds an approximately 10% stake in French broadcasting group M6 and owns various French regional newspapers.

Altice Media claims to be France’s leading news group and has assets across television, radio and digital, including the documentary channel RMC Découverte, reality-skewing RMC Story and BFM TV, one of the country’s largest 24-hour news channels.

Over the past 10 years of ownership by Altice France, Altice Media has grown from having three national TV channels to five and from having no local TV channels to owning 10. Its French documentary output has also grown, going from 2,000 hours to 6,000 hours.

Altice France said the media division’s annual revenues had grown from €195m to €362m in the years since it took over the company.

Altice Group’s combined debt, including its three units of Altice France, Altice International and Altice USA, stood at around US$60bn in August last year.

Patrick Drahi, founder and owner of Altice, said he was “very confident” Saadé would continue to invest in and develop Altice Media.

Saadé said: “With this planned acquisition, we have the ambition to continue our long-term development in the media industry.”

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