The Competition Authority informed TF1 and M6 that the proposed merger of the two groups poses “significant competition problems” and that they will have to modify their project for it to be accepted. The two television channels are not abandoning their plan, however.
In May 2021, the Bouygues and M6 groups announced that they were entering into exclusive negotiations to begin a merger project with the aim of creating a giant French media group. A merger currently planned for the end of 2022. However, to finalize the merger, the approval of the Competition Authority is required. The public institution began an in-depth review phase last March for a decision to be made next fall.
As reported The Tribune this Wednesday, the president of the M6 group Nicolas de Tavernost ” claimed that a report freshly submitted by the institution was hardly favorable to this unionin parallel with the presentation of the company’s half-year results. Moreover, it is he who should lead the new entity if the project succeeds.
The Competition Authority’s reservations on the TF1-M6 merger
In a statement, the TF1 group said that ” the investigation services consider that the transaction raises significant competition concerns (in particular on the advertising market) “. We learn that the Competition Authority has proposed “remedies “which would facilitate the validation of the project, but that the latter” would make the project of the parties lose all relevance, which, in this case, would abandon it ».
For Nicolas de Tavernost, these solutions proposed by the administrative authority “would not make it possible to build a coherent industrial project ». PourThe Tribunethese would beasset transfers or Chinese wall systems between different departments». TF1 et M6 «intend to maintain their project as it was presented» and plan to «respond within three weeks to the Authority“. They also teach us thathearings before the Board of the Autorité de la concurrence are scheduled for September 5 and 6“. On the side of M6, the group announces that a “communication will be released very soonregarding the merger, without saying more.
TF1 and M6 represent 70% of the television advertising market, it’s too much for the Competition Authority
As the two television groups are already the largest in France, their merger would lead the TF1-M6 group to obtain more than 70% market share in television advertising, which would represent a problem of competition compared to the other players in the PAF .
The two players defend themselves by arguing that this figure does not include digital advertising which is now the work of American companies.The Tribunerecalls that TF1 and M6 justify their project which would bean imperative to avoid, in the long term, finding oneself in an impassecompared to the competition from SVoD services, particularly American ones (Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Netflix, Discovery+, etc.).
TF1 and M6 forget a little Salto
Remember that in the TF1-M6 merger project, the two groups planned to “aaccelerate the development of a high-performance national platform combining a catch-up and streaming offer (based on MyTF1 and 6play) and an SVOD offer“. It would also be an opportunity toddevelop cutting-edge technologies in streaming […] and in addressed advertising, to meet the needs of viewers and customers ».
Embarking on these projects is not a bad thing in itself, but it’s a bit of forgetting Salto in history. It is a French SVoD platform launched in August 2019 jointly by TF1, M6 and France Télévisions, which had already had problems with the Competition Authority. A survey ofCapitalrevealed earlier this year that Salto was failing to boost its subscriber count and was lacking in exclusive content. Moreover, Salto, which was to compete with other streaming platforms, joined forces with Amazon Prime Video to offer its service to the catalog. We can also think that France Télévisions would withdraw from Salto in the event that the TF1-M6 merger takes place. Enough to leave the field open to the new giant of television.
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