CORPORATE GOVERNANCE

MFE, Niel, Courbit And Kretinsky All Table Offers For M6 Group

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By Jonathan Easton

Bertelsmann has received a trio of offers for its for-sale M6 Group following the broadcaster’s failed merger with TF1.

The first news of an offer came on Friday, with Reuters reporting that Italy’s MediaForEurope had teamed up with Iliad’s billionaire owner Xavier Niel to submit a non-binding offer. Niel, who last week announced the surprise acquisition of 2.5 per cent of Vodafone, is reportedly unsure whether to go in on the bid via Iliad or through one of his other investment vehicles.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed in the Reuters report, though it does note that MFE’s plans for pan-European expansion to combat competition from US streamers lines up with the initial reason for M6’s merger with TF1.

The second offer was reported on Sunday, as Bloomberg reported that a group led by media mogul and Banijay chairman Stephane Courbit had offered €20(US$19.24) a share for Bertelsmann’s controlling 48.3 per cent stake in M6. The figure represented a 39 per cent premium compared to M6’s closing price of €14.43 on Friday, and values the stake at around €1.22 billion.

The report on the Courbit bid is more detailed, and says that he has backing from shipping tycoon Rodolphe Saade and businessman Marc Ladreit de Lacharriere. Reuters would later state that this is the bid in pole position.

The final offer, also mentioned in the same Bloomberg report, is said to be from Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky.

The market has responded well to the news, with shares in M6 opening around 10 per cent higher on the Paris stock market at around €15 on Monday morning.

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