(Adds further comments on French, Dutch, Belgian units)
BERLIN, March 30 (Reuters) - Talks on broadcaster RTL’s stake in France’s Groupe M6 are making progress and there is good interest from several interested parties, CEO Thomas Rabe told reporters on Tuesday.
“This process is continuing,” Rabe, who also heads RTL’s parent company Bertelsmann, told a news conference on the German publisher’s annual results. “It won’t take for ever.”
RTL is exploring the sale of its 48% stake in Groupe M6 as part of its push for in-country consolidation in the European broadcasting industry, with sources saying Bouygues and Vivendi are among the bidders.
He said a deal with broadcaster TF1, which is owned by Bouyges, offered the best fit but faced regulatory hurdles. He declined to identify the other suitors, saying the talks were confidential.
In addition to France, Rabe said he was actively exploring potential for consolidation in Belgium and the Netherlands, where RTL has both television and radio assets. If sales do not happen, small additional acquisitions were possible, he said.
“We have several options - the best is major consolidation to create national champions that can invest in competing with the U.S. platforms,” he said, referring to streaming giants Netflix and Amazon Prime.
Privately held Bertelsmann earlier reported that its core profit rose to 3.1 billion euros ($3.6 billion) from 2.9 billion euros last year, despite a 4.1% decline in group revenue to 17.3 billion euros. ($1 = 0.8522 euros) (Reporting by Douglas Busvine, editing by Kirsti Knolle, Kirsten Donovan)