Pro7 and ITV likely M&A targets

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Nicolas de Tavernost, CEO of French broadcaster M6 (backed by RTL Grp), has reiterated his view that a major change of European regulation is needed regarding broadcaster consolidation as he believes the headlines will be dominated by the theme over the next years.

In an interview with Le Journal du Dimanche, de Tavernost put forward that regulators, for example, were “particularly strict” in their supervision of the creation of an on-demand video service launched by M6 and French rival broadcasters. He was specifically referring to the creation of ‘Salto’, a subscription based VoD service backed by France’s main commercial channel TF1 as well as public broadcaster France Televisions and M6.

He explicitly suggested that currently there would be no plan for a tie-up with TF1 but also argued that domestic broadcasting alliances would be needed to fend off the competition. He also commented on the improving TV and radio advertising market over the summer. A parallel article in Le Figaro highlighted the concerns about the lack of advertising visibility remaining for the rest of this year.

A note from investment bank Exane/BNPP to clients said the bank believed that ProSieben but also ITV (given its shareholder structure) are the most likely M&A targets. However, easier consolidation rules could also potentially help RTL, M6’s parent company to reap some further synergies.

On another note, ProSieben announced on September 4th the closure of the Meet group acquisition which consequently led to the new division, ParshipMeet, which the group is aiming to IPO by 2022.

The bank says: “We are rating ProSieben Outperform among others driven by the M&A angle and also the potential to monetise its NuCom e-commerce assets.”


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