Bouygues group ups stake in private French web TF1

The Bouygues construction group has increased its stake in France’s leading private network TF1 from 25% to 34%.

The widely anticipated move is the latest shareholder shuffle in French television and follows the recently passed law allowing a single shareholder in a national network to increase its maximum stake from 25% to 49%

Bouygues bought up a 9% stake in TF1 from Credit Lyonnais and the group Worms , and is expected to acquire a full 49% in the future.

TF1 insiders have lobbied hard for the changes in the shareholding rules, arguing that it is unfair for the Bouygues group to take 100% responsibility for the network while only holding 25% of the capital.

The calmness of last week’s deal was in marked contrast to the storm that broke at Canal Plus earlier this month when Havas, Generale des Eaux and Societe Generale announced that they had joined forces to control 48.7% of Canal Plus shares. Web topper Andre Rousselet resigned after the announcement.

Meanwhile private M6, which is to be launched on the French stock exchange this summer, also saw changes in its shareholder lineup. Waterworks services group Lyonnaise des Eaux and the CLT are to increase their shares from 25% to around 29%, each buying from the Credit Agricole and Credit Mutuel banks.

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