Bolloré to acquire Virgin 17 from Lagardère

Bolloré Media has confirmed that it is in exclusive negotiations to acquire French digital-terrestrial channel Virgin 17 from Lagardère, consolidating its position in the DTT market.

If an agreement is struck, Bolloré will take over the channel’s personnel, but will create a new identity for the channel and will not use the Virgin 17 brand. The move will give Bolloré a second DTT channel in France alongside Direct 8.

The sale is also indicative of Lagardère’s desire to rationalise its audiovisual arm, which has seen revenues fall over the last year. Lagardère, which intends to retain the Virgin 17 radio service, expects to gain about €70m from the sale of the TV channel. Lagardère has separately announced that it will launch a new “360° global media brand” aimed at young women, Be, which will include TV programmes to be distributed on Virgin 17, as well as a weekly magazine, a website, iPhone application, web radio service and e-commerce portal.