How to dress the bride well? For TF1 and M6, who wish to merge, the major maneuvers have begun. The two French audiovisual groups must obtain the approval of the Superior Audiovisual Council (CSA) and the Competition Authority to join together. Among the projects in progress, are the sale of certain channels.
Together, TF1 and M6 have ten channels, but the CSA prohibits a group from holding more than seven. However, the two French people must request the renewal of their authorization which expires in 2023. On that date, they will be supposed have completed their merger, having given themselves until the end of 2022 to achieve this.
TF1 and M6 have therefore started an informal first tour in order to find out who would be interested in certain channels. According to our information, TF1 would be ready to do without TFX and TF1 Séries Films and M6 would evoke Gulli and 6Ter. “They offer potential buyers the choice of one, two or three channels. Their number one option is to sell three of the four ”, says an audiovisual boss, who evaluates a pack of three channels at 200 million euros. For M6, parting with Gulli appears to be a setback: the group bought this channel at a high price of 215 million euros only two years ago.
Opponents of the merger storm
If they do not succeed, Nicolas de Tavernost, the boss of M6, would also be ready to “Make the frequency of TNT [télévision numérique terrestre] paying Paris Première », lets know another protagonist. “Pay DTT has no more value, distributors no longer want to pay them”, continues the same professional.
If TF1 refuses to comment, M6 for its part affirms that “Reflection on channels has not yet started”. From a good source, the process is still informal at this stage. TF1 chose Rothschild bank and M6 its competitor Lazard to handle the merger.
“Nicolas Tavernost’s only fear is that no one wants chains”, analyzes a boss of the sector. But the approach of the French audiovisual duo is already screaming some of the opponents of the rapprochement. “These channels have small audiences, TF1 and M6 would still retain 75% of the advertising market and four channels in the top 10”, storms a competitor, certain that the operation “Will take place”, and calling for “Real remedies”. Between September 6 and 12, TFX gathered 1.3% of viewers, Gulli 1.1%, TF1 Séries Films 2.2%, and 6Ter, 1.3%. “We must not be left with crumbs”, continues the one who also points to a threat to the pluralism of information.
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