M6 Group is to acquire the French radio assets of RTL Group as part of a move by the pan-European broadcast giant to pool its French broadcasting activities in one company.
RTL is M6 Group’s principal shareholder, with a 48.26% stake. Under the terms of the deal, M6 plans to acquire 100% ownership of RTL Group’s French radio assets – RTL, RTL 2, Fun Radio, and advertising sales house IP France – for €216 million (US$230 million) on a debt and cash-free basis.
Following the transaction, M6 will combine a portfolio of TV channels, radio stations, digital services, content production, rights trading and diversification.
RTL said that creating an integrated sales house for TV, radio and digital advertising would create new growth opportunities, notably by meeting advertisers’ growing demand for cross-media advertising solutions.
It also said that the deal would create efficiencies by sharing investments in technology and digital distribution platforms and by pooling certain central support functions.
M6 will have the right to use the RTL trademark for its radio services under licence.
RTL’s French radio services posted revenues of €168 million last year, with EBITA of €24 million. M6 said it expected EBITA of €40 million from the radio unit by 2020.
The French broadcaster said that the acquisition would see it bring together TV, radio and digital commercial teams to propose integrated offers to advertisers. It said that the deal would also enable it to take advantage of new opportunities to innovate in digital media and content, notably in news and music broadcasting.
M6 CEO Nicolas de Tavernost said that the agreement was the biggest non-organic growth operation that the company had undertaken to date, bringing together France’s second largest commercial broadcaster with its largest commercial radio group.
RTL Group’s and M6 Group’s boards unanimously approved the planned transaction on December 7 and December 13, respectively.
Guillaume de Posch (pictured) and Anke Schäferkordt, co-CEOs of RTL Group, said in a statement: “RTL Radio in France has been the iconic cornerstone of RTL Group’s success story in commercial broadcasting across Europe. This transaction aims to open a new,very promising chapter for RTL Radio as convergence and consolidation continue to shape our industry – not only in North America, but also across our European footprint.
“We are re-organising our French TV and radio activities into one, fully integrated company which will definitely make us more competitive in the digital media world. M6 Group has a great track record of building and growing strong media brands, nurturing a culture of creative freedom and innovation. The combination of RTL Radio and M6 will be a force for plurality and creativity in the French media landscape.”