Entertainment: TF1-M6: The marriage is canceled

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Les groupes TF1 et M6 ont annoncé vendredi 16 septembre l'abandon de leur projet de fusion, jugeant qu'il ne présentait © Lionel Bonaventure The groups TF1 and M6 announced Friday, September 16, the abandonment of their merger project, judging that it no longer presented any industrial logic " 'will finally not take place: TF1 and M6 announced on Friday the abandonment of their merger project, judging that it was "no more industrial logic", a dramatic stroke after months of uncertainty. The Union between the first and third channels of the French audiovisual landscape could have emerged a behemoth, exceeding France TV, with more than 30% audience share and representing three -quarters of the television advertising market.

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But because of the concessions claimed by the Competition Authority, in particular the transfer of the TF1 channel or the M6 ​​channel, the four parties involved decided to put an end to the project.

Bouygues, RTL Group, TF1 and the M6 ​​group estimated that since "only structural remedies concerning at least the transfer of the TF1 channel or the M6 ​​channel would be likely to allow the authorization of the operation, (.. .) The project no longer presented any industrial logic ".

The Competition Authority declared on its site that it has taken note of the announcement "by Bouygues to withdraw its project to acquire the exclusive control of the metropolitan television group", which puts an end to the procedure initiated before the authority .

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This body had led two days of hearings of the parties interested in the merger, in camera in early September, and had to make its decision in mid-October. His investigation services had, during the hearings, reiterated their position from the end of July, rather unfavorable.

The audiovisual gendarme, Arch, had validated the acquisition by the operator Altice in the TFX and M6 generation (6ter) operator (6ter), whose groups TF1 and M6 wanted to separate in order to be able to merge . This acquisition was conditioned at their marriage.

- The challenge of platforms -

since its announcement in May 2021, the project divided economic actors. Some supported the Union in the face of American competition and in particular streaming players (Netflix, Disney, Amazon or even YouTube and Tiktok).

The success of Netlix, which provides as its Disney+ counterpart to launch this year a cheaper offer funded by advertising, served in particular as justification for the operation.

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Others, such as the Union of Brands which represents advertisers, worried about the influence of a TV jet; According to TF1 and M6, the rapprochement is, according to them, limit competition on the advertising market.

"The parties deplore that the competition authority has not taken into account the magnitude and speed of changes in the French audiovisual sector," the four entities said in their press release on Friday.

"They remain convinced that the merger of the TF1 and M6 groups would have been an appropriate response to the challenges arising from accelerated competition with international platforms," ​​they added.

A few hours before the announcement of this decision, Thomas Valentin, vice-president of the M6 ​​executive board, had estimated that whatever the verdict of authority was going to be, "the market (would) have to adapt" to find Solutions to "better absorb costs, rights" in order to "be able to be able to put more money by program".

"We are in an ultra-competitive market, it is as if 20 years ago ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox had landed in France with all American programs in French and French programs, it's a bit What is happening today with platforms and with incredible speed, "he defended during the great traditional debate of the La Rochelle fiction festival, which brought together large bosses and main players in the sector.

To this is added a constant drop in the listening duration of hertzian television, more particularly among those under 50, he said.

The boss of France Télévisions, combined with TF1 and M6 in the Salto streaming platform, had posted its support for the rapprochement of its two competitors. "We need to have private health competitors," said Delphine Ernotte during a hearing in the Senate.

"Because if tomorrow the private offers are delighting -which is not the case today -, the whole TV media would fall, and we with it," she had hammered.

AC-ELC-RAM/ELC/ER

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