Altice is to consolidate all of its French media assets into telecom unit SFR, according to French press reports.
According to the Journal du Dimanche, citing unnamed sources, SFR will announce on Wednesday that it is acquiring Altice’s media assets in France. These include a 49% stake in NextRadio, owner of BFM TV, BFM Business and RMC, along with press titles Libération, L’Express and L’Étudiant and the Israeli i24 News channel that Altice boss Patrick Drahi controls personally.
Altice acquired its stake in NextRadio last year for €670 million (US$753.7 million) after teaming up with the group’s founder Alan Weill, who, under the terms of the agreement between the pair, retains a 51% stake in the group until 2019.
According to the JDD, BFM will also create at least two sports channels for SFR along with the existing Ma Chaîne Sport. These will be branded as SFR Sport and will be the vehicle for the distribution of coverage of the English Premier League in France, the rights to which Altice purchased for a reported €100 million last November.
According to the paper, SFR will also make the sports channels available to rival service providers such as Orange.
The move is designed to create a combined media and telecoms group on the model of BT, according to the report.
SFR has already announced plans to offer Libération and L’Express to subscribers as part of a package of services.