MFE teams up with France’s Niel to bid for TV company M6-sources

By Elvira Pollina

MILAN (Reuters) -Italian broadcaster MediaForEurope has joined forces with French billionaire Xavier Niel to submit a non-binding offer for a controlling stake in French TV company M6, two sources familiar with the matter said on Friday.

Milan-listed MFE, previously known as Mediaset, is owned by the family of former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Niel is the founder of French telecoms company Iliad, which also has operations in Italy.

This week he announced having bought a 2.5% stake in Vodafone.

One of the sources said Niel still had to decide whether to take part in the bid with Iliad, which he took private last year, or through other investment vehicles.

Representatives for Niel and Iliad did not immediately reply to a request for comment. MFE declined to comment.

Initial cash offers for RTL’s 48.3% stake in M6 were expected by Friday afternoon after a planned tie-up between the company and fellow French broadcaster TF1 collapsed last week.

MFE is pursuing growth in European to tackle competition from streaming services such as Netflix.

RTL and its German parent company Bertelsmann are being advised by JPMorgan.

(Reporting by Elvira Pollina, editing by Silvia Aloisi)