People/Biz

TF1, M6 merger faces second phase of in-depth probe from competition watchdog

French competition watchdog Autorité de la Concurrence has announced it will begin “phase 2″ of an examination into the planned merger between broadcasters TF1 and M6. The second phase of the ...
March 22, 2022

French competition watchdog Autorité de la Concurrence has announced it will begin “phase 2″ of an examination into the planned merger between broadcasters TF1 and M6.

The second phase of the organization’s investigation will continue to analyze advertising, the acquisition of broadcasting rights for audiovisual content, the publishing and marketing of TV channels, and the distribution of TV services.

The Autorité has already completed a survey of around 1,000 advertisers, and reports that it has conducted a series of in-depth investigations to gather the views of operators in the main sectors concerned with the transaction, particularly the parties’ suppliers, competitors and customers in the markets for rights acquisitions, publishing and distribution of TV services, and advertising. The organization also conducted hearings with a number of other relevant players.

The new entity formed from the planned merger of TF1 and M6 would hold in certain instances significant market shares, the Autorité stated in a press release. As part of its review, the Autorité will analyze the impact of developing new uses in consumption of audiovisual services, and the competitive pressure exerted by digital operators brought forward by the parties to the transaction. It also said it will continue consulting operators to assess the merger’s impact, and remedies that could be presented by the parties to any identified harm to competition.

The Autorité said it will consult the Audiovisual and Digital Communication Regulatory Authority and the Regulatory Authority for Electronic Communications, Posts and Press Distribution, as well as other public authorities.

The second phase of the investigation is expected to be completed within 65 working days, but could be extended.

The merger between French media companies Groupe TF1 and Groupe M6 and parent companies Groupe Bouygues and RTL Group was announced last year, and was originally expected to close by the end of 2022. Under the proposed terms of the deal, Groupe Bouygues would own approximately 30% of the merged entity, which it would have exclusive control over as part of a shareholder agreement with Bertelsmann-owned RTL Group, the second largest shareholder with approximately 16%.

(Image: Shutterstock)

About The Author
Andrew Jeffrey joined Realscreen in 2021 as its news editor. Here, he helps to oversee assignment, reporting and editing for Realscreen's daily newsletter. Prior to his work covering documentary and non-fiction film and TV, he worked as a reporter and associate producer for CBC Edmonton, and as a reporter for The Star Calgary, where he covered daily news on beats such as local and provincial politics, health care and harm reduction, sports and education. His work has appeared in other Canadian news outlets such as TVO, the Edmonton Journal and Avenue Magazine.

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