French shipping billionaire Rodolphe Saade is to buy France’s leading rolling news service BFM TV from Patrick Drahi’s Altice group.

Saade’s shipping company CMA CGM will acquire the French media unit of telecoms group Altice, which includes BFM TV as well as radio RMC, for €1.55bn.

4. Altice.bfmtv

Altice group to sell BFM TV

CMA CGM and Merit France family office will acquire 80% and 20% respectively of the share capital.

The deal comes as Altice looks to cut debts of more than $60bn. The media and telecommunications giant faces higher borrowing costs after years of aggressive acquisitions, which is testing its business model.

BFM TV grew rapidly in France in the 2010s and is closely watched by the country’s political and business elite.

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It is the latest move by the Saade family into the French media sector. CMA CGM already owns French regional newspapers La Tribune, La Provence and Corse Matin and holds a more than 10% stake in M6, France’s second-biggest private TV network.

Altice said in a statement: “Patrick Drahi is very confident in Rodolphe Saadé with whom he has a close and friendly relationship for several years, his family, CMA CGM and Merit France, to continue to invest and to develop Altice Media to allow BFM and RMC, and their teams, to pursue their essential mission.”

The transaction, which is subject to regulatory approvals, is expected to be completed during the summer.

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