TF1 will retain 49% Eurosport stake, says Paolini

TF1 aims to retain a 49% stake in Eurosport and, thanks to its new partnership with Discovery, extend the reach of the sports channel to new territories, according to the French commercial broadcaster’s CEO, Nonce Paolini,

In an interview with Le Figaro newspaper, Paolini said that Discovery’s expertise in tapping local advertising markets would enable the channel to grow its overall revenue by extending from its current pan-European advertising. It would also enable TF1 to expand the distribution of its channels internationally, he said. Discovery last month agreed to take a 20% stake in the sports channel, with the option to increase this to 51%, with TF1 retaining the option to sell the remaining 49%.

Paolini also took the opportunity to reiterate his earlier criticism of the conditions under which Canal Plus was allowed to acquire Bolloré channels Direct 8 and Direct Star and said that the France’s regulatory regime was out of date.

Paolini said that 2013 would be a year of consolidating its achievements of 2012 and of new developments to reinforce the position of TF1, TMC, NT1 and HD1.