A first report by the authority examining the merger of the two television companies is not positive for the project.
The marriage between TF1 and M6 is teased. Following the presentation of M6’s quarterly results on Tuesday 26th July, CEO Nicolas de Tavernost (proposed as future CEO of the new company) announced that the investigation report from the Competition Authority’s services was unavailable “not cheap” to the project. The antitrust report presented last week, which has been working on the case for many months, points this out in particular “significant competition concerns”in television advertising, where the two players capture almost 75% of the market value.
In March, the competition authority announced the opening of a ” in-depth examination phaseon this controversial project that would create a titan of French television capable of dominating the market for audiovisual rights, channel distribution and television advertising. TF1 and M6 believe that they are now competing with the major American online video players such as Netflix, YouTube or Amazon Prime and that their weight must be compared to that of digital advertising, where the giants of technology are.
TF1 and M6 do not abandon the project
The Autorité de la concurrence report proposes remedies. According to a joint press release issued early Tuesday evening by the Bouygues Groups, TF1’s largest shareholder, and RTL, the owner of M6, “The nature and extent of the legal remedies required would render irrelevant the parties’ intention to abandon it in this case”. The two groups indicate that they will reply to the competition authority within the next three weeks and that they will not abandon the project.“The parties intend to maintain their project as presented”, they say in their press release. They also remind that the investigative report does not prejudge the final decision of the competition authority’s board, which will consider the case in October. Hearings before the college are scheduled for September 5-6.
In anticipation of the competition authority’s report, the two groups had already prepared the sale of their TFX and 6ter channels to the Altice group (BFMTV). This order was accepted by the competition authority on Friday. M6 also plans to release Paris Première’s DTT frequency, while TF1 is in the process of reselling its digital activities (press, marketing) to various groups.
Announced in May 2021, the marriage between the two groups is set to be finalized in early 2023, having also received approval from Arcom (ex-CSA), scheduled for November.
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