Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky, owner of CMI France, in Paris on January 22, 2020 (AFP / JOEL SAGET)
The Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky, owner of CMI France which publishes in particular “Elle”, “Arts & decoration” or “Marianne”, owns more than 5% of the capital of the TF1 group, AFP learned Tuesday from TF1, confirming a information from the daily “Les Echos”.
In a statement to the Autorité des marchés financiers, Mr. Kretinsky said he owned, through his Luxembourg company Vesa Equity Investment, 5.05% of the capital and voting rights of the television group. He entered the capital in 2019, he told AFP.
This operation is not carried out in agreement with the Bouygues group, the main shareholder of TF1, but “is in no way hostile to it, quite the contrary”, declared Daniel Kretinsky to Les Echos.
“TF1 is a company in which we believe because of its solidity. We also believe in the merger with M6, which we are very favorable to,” he added.
According to the economic newspaper, the billionaire – who is also indirectly present in the capital of Le Monde – could also increase his participation.
When contacted, the CMI France group was unable to respond to AFP’s requests.
At 2:50 p.m., the title of the TF1 group gained 2.24% to 8.69 euros on a Parisian market in slight decline (-0.11%).
Before being able to materialize, the merger project between the two television groups TF1 and M6, announced last May, must obtain the approval of several regulatory bodies, including the Competition Authority and the Audiovisual Council. (CSA), which must rule in the first half of 2022.
It is “natural” and “understandable” that the actors of the French audiovisual landscape “put themselves in working order” to “develop their capacity for investment and a kind of cultural sovereignty”, declared Roch-Olivier Maistre last week, the president of the CSA.
The merger between TF1 and M6 / RTL, now owned by the German group Bertelsmann via RTL Group, must also obtain the consent of the Competition Authority to create a player representing three quarters of the French advertising market on the free television.
jub-cgu / uh / sr