France’s television broadcasters are to be auctioned off, sparking concerns that TV subscribers will fall.
The national broadcaster will be sold off by a consortium led by French telecoms operator O2 in what analysts say is a move aimed at easing financial pressures amid a crisis.
The Radio France inter service will be privatized, meaning that it will be part-owned by O2 and the French government will control the rest.
The sale of the Radio France services will be financed by the public.
The broadcaster is already owned by a group of companies, but this will be the first time it will share a piece of the business.
O2 has said it expects the sale of Radio France to result in the sale by 2021 of about 10 percent of the company.
A French government spokesman declined to comment on the news on Friday.
O 2 and Radio France were both bought by AT&T in 2003.
Obert said he expected the sale to be completed in 2021.
“The sale of TV stations is a fundamental part of the consolidation of the French television market and of the government’s control over the industry,” he said.
OTV has the largest stake in the broadcaster, which operates in the northern and central regions of the country.
In 2016, it purchased the broadcasting rights for the French language service Canal Plus from France Telecom.
The acquisition of the radio service, which provides news, sports and news, from France Mobile last year brought it under the government.
O&=T has also bought the French TV service, France Info, for about $2 billion.
OCTV’s stake in France Info is about 25 percent, while France Info’s shares are about 25 cents.
O &= t TV has about 12 million subscribers, the highest of any of the broadcast services in France.
French Radio, the largest television channel, has about 1.3 million subscribers.
The government is aiming to close a record 4.6 billion euros ($5.3 billion) budget deficit by 2019, which would be financed mainly through cuts to pensions, unemployment benefits and social spending.