TF1 and M6 offer concessions to obtain merger approval

TF1 and M6 have offered to keep their advertising businesses separate for three years after their merger in a bid to gain regulatory approval for the merger, according to a report by the French newspaper Le Figaro.

According to the newspaper, the offer is part of a wider package of remedies proposed by the parent companies of the two broadcasters, Bouygues and RTL Group, to the French competition authority, the Autorité de la concurrence.

Competitors in the pair have until August 25 to submit their comments. The regulator is expected to issue a final decision in October after hearings in September.

According to the report, the couple will also propose to separate their radio advertising activities, limit the distribution of French films on the channels of the combined companies and extend their distribution agreements with service providers such as Canal+, Orange, Free for one year. and SFR.

The TF1-M6 group will hold approximately 75% of the French television advertising market.

Last month, the watchdog raised significant competition concerns, with particular focus on the advertising market.

The couple said they would not make any changes to their original plans and would let the watchdog know their response within three weeks.

TF1 said: “The nature and extent of the remedies required in the report would mean that the merger plans would no longer make sense to the parties involved and they would therefore abandon them.”

TF1 chief Gilles Pelisson previously said any demand from the watchdog for TF1’s M6 to sell either of their flagship channels would be a deal breaker for both parties.

The Competition Authority has decided to open an in-depth “phase 2” investigation in March into the proposed merger of TF1 and M6.

The regulator said it had decided that further investigation was necessary following its initial investigation into the views of the parties’ suppliers, competitors and customers in the markets for the acquisition of rights, publishing and distribution of television services. and advertising.

Valerie J. Wallis