Offbeat: France: The TF1 and M6 groups abandon their merger project

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Les logos de TFI et M6. © AFP - Lionel Bonaventure The logos of TFI and M6.

TF1 and M6 groups announced this Friday the abandonment of their merger project, judging that he no longer presents any industrial logic "taking into account the concessions claimed by the competition authority, in particular the transfer of the TF1 or M6 channel.

"Bouygues, RTL Group, TF1 and the M6 ​​group today put a term to the merger project of the TF1 and M6 groups, announced on May 17, 2021", explain the four entities in a press release. 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 parties concluded "that the project no longer presented any industrial logic".

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The Competition Authority "takes note of the announcement made today, by Bouygues to withdraw its project to acquire the exclusive control of the Metropolis Television group", she announced in stride on its site. "This decision puts an end to the procedure initiated before the authority," she said.

Disappointed position of the Competition Authority

She had led two days of hearings of the parties interested in the merger in camera in early September and was to render its decision in mid-October. The authority's investigating services had, during the hearings, reiterated their position at the end of July, rather unfavorable and without "real change", despite the concessions proposed since by the channels, according to a source to AFP.

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"The parties deplore that the competition authority has not taken into account the magnitude and speed of changes in the French audiovisual sector", explain the four entities 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," ​​she added.

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The college of the Competition Authority generally follows the opinion of the investigative services, but it was excluded during the Fusion in 2016 between Fnac and Darty, where competitive pressure on the e-commerce sector had been taken into account.

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