“I bought myself a castle, it’s not to let the gypsies come on the lawns”. Here is what Martin Bouygues would have said about Free Mobile at the birth of the 4th mobile operator. All this brings us back to the 2010s and the fight between Bouygues Télécom and Xavier Niel’s group.
But after mobile telephony, the latter wants to wage battle against M6 and TF1 to steal TNT broadcasting channels from them.
Arcom, the media regulator, declared admissible, Monday, January 23, its candidacy for the resumption of a broadcasting channel on DTT. The frequencies of TF1 and M6, which expire on May 5, would therefore be in the crosshairs of the businessman, whose fortune was born from his ability to establish himself as the 4th French telecom operator.
A good window of opportunity
Launched in December by Arcom, the call for candidates for the renewal of these frequencies is the first since 1987, the year of the privatization of TF1 and the arrival of M6 on the sixth hertzian network. Hearings of the three candidates by the media regulator will take place on February 15.
The M6 group has been in Xavier Niel’s sights for several years. In May 2021 and then in October 2022, he tried to buy out RTL’s stake. Without success. But the tide has meanwhile turned for M6, just like for TF1. The owner of M6 is looking to sell, after unsuccessfully trying to merge with TF1.
In addition, Xavier Niel is a co-shareholder of the leading French audiovisual production group Mediawan, one of the most powerful players.
And, if he fails to seize the frequencies of M6, it could only be a postponement. In 2025, about fifteen authorizations for DTT channels will expire.