Xavier Niel reportedly looking to invest in France’s Brut

Xavier Niel

French media entrepreneur Xavier Niel, owner of service provider Free, and sometime rival French-Lebanese businessman Rodolphe Saadé have teamed up to make a large scale investment in youth-oriented online media outfit Brut, according media reports.

According to Les Echos, Niel, who previously invested €10 million in Brut in 2018, has make a joint offer with Saadé to invest €40 million in the youth media outfit.

Saadé, who had already been reportedly interested in Brut, competed with Niel to acquire French regional newspaper La Provience last year, with Niel’s NJJ Médias ultimately ceding to Saadé’s CMA CGM.

The pair’s involvement in Brut will bring the pair head-to-head with another media tycoon who has shown interest in investing in the outfit – the Czech Republic’s Daniel Křetínský.

Křetínský was earlier this month reported to have approached Brut founders Renaud Le Van Kim and Guillaume Lacroix.

According to reports, Křetínský has expressed an interest in taking a majority stake in Brut, but this is likely to be resisted by the group’s owners, who are likely to be more open to the sale of a minority stake.

Brut’s streaming service BrutX, was shuttered late last year as a result of the high costs of acquiring content and a failure to attract sufficient subscribers.

The streamer’s factual programming remains available via a new moble app which aggregates the outfit’s services including Brut.Live and Brut.shop.

Niel’s interest in Brut highlights his growing involvement in media. His NJJ Médias unit is currently competing with established broadcasters TF1 and M6 for a digital-terrestrial frequency to launch a mainstream TV service.

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