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Czech investor Kretínský launches French business news channel

Czech billionaire Daniel Kretínský – recently in the news for his investment in German commercial broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1, has teamed up with former BMF Business anchor Stéphane Soumier to launch a new ‘channel for entrepreneurs’ in France. 

Kretínský’s French company CMI France will launch the new service, Bsmart TV, which will take “a pro-business editorial line” that will be “inspirational [and] sympathetic in putting first the creation by businesses of economic, social and environmental value”, according to the channel’s backers.

Soumier said that the channel would be “by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, a haven for those who doubt, a launchpad for those who dare”.

CMI France is active in publishing, having acquired eight magazine titles from Lagardère – Elle, Version Femina, Télé 7 Jours, Télé 7 Jeux, Public, France dimanche, Ici Paris and Art et Décoration – and weekly Marianne.

Separately, the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper has reported that Kretínský’s CMI group has increased its stake in ProSiebenSat.1 to over 12%, up from 10%. If Kretínský’s stake rises above 15%, he will be forced by Germany rules to file an official notification.

Kretínský’s interest in the German broadcaster has fuelled speculation about a potential takeover or break up of the group. The Czech businessman is seen as an ally of Italy’s Mediaset, which has progressively upped its stake in ProSiebenSat.1 and currently controls 11.73% of the voting rights.

The broadcaster has also attracted the attention of private equity group KKR, which acquired a stake of around 5% last month.