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In a bid to compete with Netflix and other global streaming giants on their home ground, Groupe Bouygues and RTL Group have announced plans to merge leading French commercial broadcasters TF1 and M6 to form a new European TV giant.
If approved, the deal would create France’s largest broadcasting group, with pro forma revenues of $4.13 billion (€3.4 billion) and operating profits of $560 million (€461 million) annually. On the streaming side, the combination of online operations MyTF1 and M6’ 6play could create a potential French champion to take on the global streamers.
The merger, announced late Monday, would see Groupe Bouygues take over pay RTL $779 million (€641 million) for 11 percent of the new company to secure a total of around 30 percent of the merged group. RTL will retain around 16 percent, with the remaining 54 percent in free float. Groupe Bouygues would control the new company with RTL remaining on as a strategic shareholder. The boards of TF1, M6, Groupe Bouygues and RTL Group have all approved the deal and hope to receive the anti-trust go-ahead by the end of 2022.
“The merger between Groupe TF1 and Groupe M6 is a great opportunity to create a French total video champion that will guarantee independence, quality of content, and pluralism — values that have long been shared by our two groups,” said TF1 Chairman and CEO Gilles Pélisson in a statement. “It will be an asset in promoting French culture.”
M6 boss Nicolas de Tavernost called consolidation of the French TV and broadcasting markets “an absolute necessity if the French audience and the industry as a whole are to continue to play a predominant role in the face of exacerbated international competition, which is accelerating rapidly.”
Thomas Rabe, CEO of RTL Group, said the merger fits into RTL’s strategy of creating “national media champions” across Europe.
The two groups said the merger would result in annual synergies and benefits amounting to between $304 million-$425 million (€250 million-€350 million).
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