Fusion fantasies from RTL once again destroyed by the authorities

© RTL Group

RTL and Bouygues stop merging TV broadcasting groups TF1 and M6 in France. The local competition authority thwarted the plans.


Bertelsmann wants to create strong television groups in European countries in order to counter the international streaming competition. In France, the plans don’t work out.

In France, the big private TV groups TF1 and M6 will not merge. Bertelsmann-owned RTL Group and French conglomerate Bouygues withdrew their plans to as the companies jointly announced on Friday in Paris. Regulatory requirements were cited as the reason. Competition examiners had previously expressed concerns. There were already indications that the merger plans could be called off. In France, RTL Group holds almost half of the shares in the television group M6, TF1 belongs to Bouygues.

TF1 and M6 do not go together

A merger of the broadcasting groups was actually planned by the end of the year. According to their own statements, the two groups took part in hearings by the competition authority at the beginning of September. There it was imposed on them that the private broadcasters TF1 or M6 would at least have to be spun off.

As a result, Bertelsmann will not be able to implement its plan in France, which it is also pursuing in other countries: to create large, strong video companies that counteract the international streaming competition with Netflix, Amazon and other providers in the respective country. In the Netherlands, RTL Nederland wants to merge with John de Mol’s media company Talpa Network – the deal could probably be completed in the fall.

Bertelsmann, based in Gütersloh, said on Friday about the failed merger: “Bertelsmann does not share the attitude of the French competition authority and sees it as a missed opportunity for the French media market in competition with the global platforms.” The Bertelsmann strategy follows five clear priorities. One of them is the formation of national media champions in competition with the global platforms. “Bertelsmann is sticking to this strategy.”

RTL is aiming for mergers in all markets

Listed RTL Group originally intended to bring its entire stake in M6 into the merged company and then sell shares to TF1 owner Bouygues. In the end, RTL wanted to be the second largest shareholder in the new group.

In Germany, too, Bertelsmann CEO Thomas Rabe repeatedly mentioned a possible rapprochement with ProSiebenSat.1, albeit without being specific. In January, for example, he said he was convinced that sooner or later they would “converge” if the transactions planned by RTL were to be implemented in the TV markets in France and the Netherlands.



Source: DIGITAL FERNSEHEN by www.digitalfernsehen.de.

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