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SFR wants full control of French channels group

Altice Group-owned French service provider SFR has filed a plan with media regulator the CSA to take exclusive control of NextRadioTV.

SFR said that the move represented a new stage in its strategic partnership with NextRadioTV, following its deal with the TV and radio channel provider in 2015.

The operator said the decision to move forwards with a 100% acquisition of the channel outfit reflected the domestic and international evolution of the telecom and audiovisual media sector.

It said that the first phase of the partnership had seen fruit in the shape of the launch of three new channels – BFM Sport, BFM Paris and SFR Sport 1 – and that the integration of the group would allow it launch new services and reinforce the finances of existing channels.

Alan Weill, head of Altice Media and founder of NextRadioTV, will head up NextRadioTV and SFR Presse, the group’s newspaper and magazine arm.

Weill said that the partnership between SFR and NextRadioTV had allowed the pair to “rise to the challenges confronting media today”.

SFR CEO Michel Combes said: “In investing further in channels, SFR is affirming its leadiership in the areas of news, sport and documentaries. We also have bigplans that we will launch in the course of the coming months in the areas of series and cinema.”

The move is the latest stage in SFR and Altice’s ongoing development of a media arm. The operator acquired Altice’s media group in France, including L’Express and Libération as well as a 49% stake in NextRadioTV. owner of TV channels BFM TV, BFMN Business and RMC, in May last year

Altice acquired its stake in NextRadioTV in 2015 for €670 million (US$720.5 million) through a partnership with the group’s founder Weill. Under that agreement, the latter was to retain his 51% stake in the group until 2019, but SFR’s plan to take full control now appears to have been brought forward.

SFR’s plan is to create a convergent media and telecom company, including an on-demand offering, SFR Play, as well as linear channels.