French television groups TF1 and M6 have dropped their plans to join forces after objections from the French competition authorities against their merger.
The deal, which was seen by the two commercial TV companies as an attempt to create a European powerhouse capable of taking on the global streaming giants, has been halted after the French competition authority’s investigation into the merger.
The companies said Friday that after meeting with the antitrust watchdog, it became clear that they would only gain approval for the deal on the condition that they sell one of the two networks’ flagship channels: either the TF1 or M6 channel.
“The parties have therefore concluded that the proposed merger no longer has any strategic ground,” read a joint statement by TF1 Group and its 44 percent owner Bouygues Group, as well as M6 Group and its Luxembourg-based parent company RTL Group. “The parties regret that the Competition Authority has not taken into account the speed and magnitude of the changes going through the French broadcasting sector.”
TF1 and M6 had argued that only by joining forces large national networks in Europe can continue to compete with deep-pocketed streamers as the online platforms expand internationally. Had the merger gone through, Paris-based Bouygues Group would have held a 30 percent stake in the combined TF1-M6 company, and Fremantle owner RTL Group a 16 percent strategic stake.