Dailymotion stays French as Yahoo! is spurned

French video sharing site Dailymotion will remain in French hands and not be sold to US internet giant Yahoo! after all, it was announced on Tuesday. In May the French government stirred up a hornet's nest on both sides of the Atlantic by blocking the sale.

Dailymotion stays French as Yahoo! is spurned
Yahoo!'s bid to buy France's Dailymotion is derailed by Minister Montebourg. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images North/AFP

Dailymotion, the video-sharing site that was at the centre of an uproar after the French state blocked its sale to Yahoo!, will remain a unit of France's Orange, chief executive Stephane Richard said on Tuesday.

Dailymotion's place remains "within Orange," Richard said in an interview published on Tuesday in business daily Les Echos adding that the site would also receive a €30 million investment.

Industrial Renewal Minister Arnaud Montebourg, who led the campaign to scuttle a sale to US firm Yahoo! earlier this year, welcomed the announcement calling it "good news for France and for Europe."

Yahoo! Inc. had been in talks to buy a 75-percent stake in Dailymotion, which is owned by telecommunications firm Orange, formally known as France Telecom.

But the government, which holds a 27 percent stake in Orange, had insisted on a 50-50 split.

The disagreement caused a major row between business and the government.

In May Orange's Richard said the firm's management – and not the government – should be deciding the strategy for Dailymotion, owned by France Telecom, which uses the brand name Orange.

"Dailymotion is a subsidiary of Orange and not the state. It is the company, its management and its board that manages this issue," Richard said.

"I had refused Yahoo! the option of buying all of Dailymotion and we were on the verge of finding an arrangement," he said.At the time, Montebourg said he had blocked the deal because the US firm was seeking to "devour" the French company.

"Yahoo! wanted to devour Dailymotion. And we said 'No' to them," Montebourg told Europe 1 radio.

"It's in France's interest, and the interests of Dailymotion, which is a French nugget that we must protect," he added.The move caused anger in business circles and stoked worries that attempts to make France appear business-friendly were seriously harmed.

The collapse of the agreement dealt another blow to France's business image, with the outspoken Montebourg at the centre of complaints in the corporate world that France's Socialist government is anti-business.

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France’s Mediawan buys majority stake in Brad Pitt’s Plan B

French media company Mediawan has bought a majority stake in US film star Brad Pitt's production house Plan B Entertainment, it said Friday, in a deal reportedly worth more than $300 million.

France's Mediawan buys majority stake in Brad Pitt's Plan B

Plan B, co-founded by Pitt in the early 2000s with his then-wife Jennifer Aniston has three best picture Oscar winners to its name: “The Departed”, “Twelve Years a Slave” and “Moonlight”.

The deal “marks the deployment of Mediawan into the American market,” the French company said in a press release which did not say how much the deal was worth.

The Financial Times reported the deal had valued Plan B Entertainment at more than $300 million.

“Cinema is becoming international. Talents are emerging all over the world,” Pitt said in an interview with Le Parisien newspaper. “For our future projects, we have to look outside the United States.”

With Mediawan “we have the same conception of how to produce films and series,” he added.

In a press release Mediawan CEO Pierre-Antoine Capton said the deal was “an exceptional opportunity to be able to develop Mediawan alongside Plan B, the most beautiful independent production company in the US.”

Founded in 2015 Mediawan produces and distributes films, series and streaming shows and has recently snapped up several production houses across Europe.

It produced the hit Netflix show “Call My Agent.”