The owners of French newspaper Le Monde have confirmed a “real and serious” interest in acquiring TF1’s news service LCI following the latter’s announcement that the channel will shut down – at least in its present form – at the end of this year.
Following media regulator the CSA’s July decision not to allow LCI to migrate to free-to-air on the country’s digital-terrestrial platform, the channel’s management confirmed to staff at the end of last week that LCI would shut down in its present form at the end of December. However, TF1 last week also put in place a committee to discuss future options for the channel. These are reported to include developing it as a local free-to-air service in the Île-de-France region, the creation of a ‘news factory’ to develop internet content and the launch of a news strand on TMC. TF1 has also said it is open to a sale of the channel.
Le Monde has now indicated to the CSA and TF1 that it could throw its hat into the ring. Le Monde has reported that that TF1 CEO Nonce Paolini and Le Monde CEO Louis Dreyfus met to discuss the subject on August 27. Le Monde’s plans are focused on LCI’s continuation as a pay TV channel with additional development of digital distribution.
Le Monde’s owners, Yves Saint Laurent co-founder Pierre Bergé, banker Matthieu Pigasse and telecom entrpreneur Xavier Niel, had initially expressed their interest in acquiring LCI in July, just before the CSA’s ruling.