A proposed merger between French media companies Groupe TF1 and Groupe M6 has been jeopardized after a report was filed by the French competition authority, Autorité de la Concurrence.
The competition authority’s investigation highlighted a number of significant competition concerns, especially in relation to the advertising market, according to statements released by TF1 and M6 on Wednesday (July 27). The solutions to these concerns suggested by the authority would lead both sides to abandon the deal, each broadcaster’s statement read.
“The nature and extent of the remedies required in the report would mean that the merger plans would no longer be meaningful for the parties involved, and they would therefore abandon them,” TF1′s statement read.
The companies’ statements also stress that the report “in no way” predicts the final decision of the authority’s board.
Both TF1 and M6 stated that they have no intention to change their original merger plans, and will inform the authority of their response in the next three weeks. Hearings will take place before the competition authority’s board on September 5 and 6.
The merger between TF1 and M6, and their respective parent companies Groupe Bouygues and RTL Group, was announced last year. It was seen as a way to create a media giant that can better compete with global streaming platforms in France.
The merger 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%.