TF1/UGC partnership gets green light

Teaming for sales, Gallic distribution, film co-production

PARIS -- French competition authorities gave the green light to a TF1/UGC partnership in international sales, Gallic distribution and film co-production, the companies said Monday.

The marriage, signed in July, was officially made legal last week. France's leading commercial broadcaster TF1 and distribution powerhouse UGC will co-invest in feature film production, and plan to launch two joint ventures in theatrical distribution and international sales of audiovisual rights.

TF1 and UGC hope that the merger will make both entities competitive on the French and international markets in the wake of cutbacks in TV investments in the territory. "The partnership between these two French actors of the distribution and film production would provide the sector with means to face the consequences of the deterioration of international markets for audiovisual rights and to lower investments from TV broadcasters," TF1 said in a statement.

The official launch of the union is tentatively set for the fourth quarter of 2009.