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Bertelsmann’s Thomas Rabe sticks M6 up for sale after failed TF1 merger

German media giant Bertelsmann has put French commercial network M6 on the open sale market after the proposed merger with rival TF1 collapsed last week.

Thomas Rabe

The Financial Times reported this morning that Bertelsmann CEO Thomas Rabe is seeking non-binding offers for the channel and has been “inundated with offers”, with Banijay’s Stéphane Courbit among the reported interested parties along with Vivendi, Mediawan and MediaForEurope.

Bertelsmann-owned RTL Group owns a near 50% stake in the channel and had been trying to merge it with TF1 to form a giant commercial broadcaster capable of competing with US streaming giants in France.

French businesses TF1 Group and M6 Group officially abandoned their plans to merge following the French Competition Authority’s probe of the deal last week.

The companies said the decision was taken after it became apparent that the antitrust watchdog would only approve the deal on the condition that either the TF1 TV channel or the M6 channel were sold.

Should the merger have gone ahead, Paris-based Bouygues Group would have held a 30% stake in the combined company, with Fremantle owner RTL Group involved as a strategic shareholder with a 16% stake.


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