Monday, September 12, 2011

Bollore sells

The news that Bollore was selling his two TV channels to Canal Plus, on September 8, stunned everybody. It was a coup for Bernard Meheut, the CEO of Canal. Thanks to this costly operation, 465 million euros, he is now able to offer his public, two free channels using all the programs broadcast through Canal pay TV. It is a nice complement to an already very successful broadcaster which has five million subscribers.

For Bollore, the outcome is much less obvious. Due to this sale, the media empire he was slowly building up is falling apart. The Breton tycoon keeps only Direct Matin, a free sheet that loses 10 million euros a year and a local TV on the Riviera. He also pulls the carpet under his son Yannick's feet. It was a common asumption that his heir was to be the boss of a growing media group. Now his fate is not clear anymore.
So, what is the answer to this enigma? Bollore is no fool. he certainly has a long term design. Some people think he could now try to get hold of TF1, a much more exciting prize than Direct Plus and Direct Star. Others wonder if he is aiming at Vivendi, the owner of Canal Plus. After all, he agreed to be paid not in cash but with shares of Vivendi a huge and prosperous media group.

One thing is sure the sale was a first step of a long term project. Wait for the end of the Bollore saga.