AB Group ‘could be looking at sale’

France’s AB Group could be looking at a sale, with Mediawan, the investment vehicle of Xavier Niel, Matthieu Pigasse and Pierre-Antoine Capton a possible suitor, according to a report in French financial daily Les Echos.

According to Les Echos, citing unnamed sources, AB Group could enter talks with a number of possible buyers, including Mediawan. Lagardère has also been named as a possible candidate in the past.

AB Group’s president and majority shareholder, Claude Berda, is approaching 70, fueling speculation about a possible sale. According to Les Echos, the group could seek between €350 and €400 million.

Berda owns a 53% stake in the group, with management holding 13.5% and broadcaster TF1 holding 33.5%.

The group owns about 20 channels but makes the majority of its revenues from distribution and the exploitation of its programming catalogue.

Mediawan, a ‘Special Purpose Acquisition Company’ (SPAC) was recently created by Niel, owner of Iliad Telecom, Troisième Oeil Productions founder Capton, who serves as chairman, and Pigasse, Lazard Group’s global head of acquisitions and CEO of Lazard France, to acquire one or more operating businesses with an intention to focus on “target businesses or companies with principal operations in the traditional and digital media content and entertainment industries in Europe”.

The group says on its website that it has “identified potential target businesses and companies but have not engaged in discussions with any potential acquisition or combination candidates, nor do they have any agreements or understandings to acquire any potential target businesses or companies.”