TF1, Groupe M6 sign merger agreements
July 9, 2021
From Pascale Paoli-Lebailly in Paris
Following the proposed merger between French commercial media groups TF1 and M6, their two parent companies Groupe Bouygues and RTL Group, have confirmed the signing of agreements related to the deal that seeks to create a French TV giant able to compete internationally.
The employee representative bodies of Groupe Bouygues, Groupe TF1 and Groupe M6 issued a favourable opinion on the proposed merger on June 24th 2021.
Completion of the transaction remains subject to the usual condition precedents, in particular the authorisations of the competent authorities and the general meetings of Groupe TF1 and Groupe M6.
The transaction is set to close by the end of 2022. According to the terms of the deal, Bouygues is to pay €641 million to buy M6 Group. TF1 will become the exclusive controlling shareholder of the new structure, owning 30 per cent of the shares and will act in strategic partnership with RTL Group, 16 per cent shareholder. M6 Chairman of the Executive Board Nicolas de Tavernost will be designated Chairman and CEO of the merged structure.
Other market players have highlighted the significant presence of the new group on the French TV sector. Iliad, parent company of telco free, has described the proposed combination as “quite scarry, suggesting that it will concentrate around 60 per cent of the commercial TV audience, 70 per cent of the Ad market and even 95 per cent on prime time.
The French Competition authority will have to rule on the proposed merger and has confirmed it will start a detailed study in September 2021 of the potential market consequences. This market test will have to explore the impact on the ad market, the TV and sport rights acquisitions and production markets, as well as TV content distribution.
The president of the Authority, Isabelle de Silva, said shortly after the merger proposal that “it wasn’t sure at all that such an operation was possible”.