Inside Move: Teuton takeover

RTL incursion at M6 spurs <I>la resistance</I>

RTL incursion at M6 spurs la resistance

The imminent fall under German control of Gallic TV station M6 has stirred passions at French broadcasting’s highest levels.

In a rare outburst, leading web TF1’s majority shareholder Martin Bouygues lashed out at authorities last week for giving the RTL Group control of the web, calling it “a very serious affair for French broadcasting.”

“I’m shocked,” the head of the Bouygues Group told Le Monde.

On Nov. 24 the watchdog CSA gave the greenlight for French utility Suez to sell most of its 37% stake in M6. The CSA added a proviso that RTL, M6’s other shareholder, must agree to not increase its voting rights above 34% — the level at which they were pegged equally with Suez’s two years ago.

But that didn’t wash with Bouygues.

“Let’s not be naive,” he said. “The sale of Suez’s stake in M6 completely upsets the balance of French broadcasting.”

“This French channel is going to fall under the control of one of the world’s top media groups, Bertelsmann. Sure, the staff is French, but from now on the power is German.”

Bouygues says he and TF1 topper Patrick Le Lay presented their concerns to the CSA, but apparently to no avail.

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