M6 Up for Sale by Bertelsmann


After a failed merger attempt with TF1, M6 is now up for sale by German media group Bertelsmann.

According to the Financial Times, Bertelsmann is asking for indicative bids by Friday to “test the market.” The FT also reports that the sale is attracting a crowded field of potential buyers that includes some of Europe’s most prominent media billionaires, citing people close to the process.

Thomas Rabe, Bertelsmann’s chief executive, confirmed to the Financial Times that he had asked for non-binding offers after being “inundated with expressions of interest” when the M6-TF1 deal was abandoned last week. “This is why we are ‘testing the market.’ We will decide on the basis of the test whether to sell or not,” he said.

Bertelsmann’s RTL group owns a 48.3 percent stake in M6.

“Following the debates with the [Competition] Authority and despite the additional remedies proposed, it appears that only structural remedies involving at the very least the divestment of the TF1 TV channel or of the M6 TV channel would be sufficient to approve the proposed merger,” a statement from RTL Group read at the time the merger was called off.

The parties, therefore, concluded that “the proposed merger no longer has any strategic rationale.”

“The parties regret that the Competition Authority did not take into account the speed and extent of the changes sweeping through the French broadcasting sector,” the statement continued. “They continue to firmly believe that a merger of the TF1 and M6 Groups would have provided an appropriate response to the challenges resulting from the increased competition from the international platforms.”