Bouygues, RTL Group, Groupe TF1 and Groupe M6 have announced they are dropping plans to merge French commercial channels TF1 and M6.
Earlier this month, the parties were the subject of a series of hearings by the French Competition Authority. In a statement, the four said the merger no longer had any merit.
“Following the debates with the Authority and despite the additional remedies proposed, it appears that only structural remedies involving at the very least the divestment of the TF1 TV channel or of the M6 TV channel would be sufficient to approve the proposed merger. The parties have therefore concluded that the proposed merger no longer has any strategic rationale.
“The parties regret that the Competition Authority did not take into account the speed and extent of the changes sweeping through the French broadcasting sector.”
Ahead of the merger it was already clear the Authority had serious concerns; Bouygues and RTL Group pledged to separate their advertising agencies for up to 3 years in a bid to gain approval for the merger of their channels.
Under the proposals, Bouygues and RTL would have owned 30% and 16% respectively of the new group, following the acquisition of an 11% stake by Bouygues from RTL for €641 million.