French TV groups TF1 and M6 have reached a pact to buy France Televisions’ stake in Salto, the streaming service they jointly launched in 2020, if their proposed merger gets anti-trust approval.
The Bouygues-owned TF1 Groupe and M6, which is part of Berteslmann-owned RTL Group, unveiled their merger plan last May to form a $4 Billion European media powerhouse. Since then, Delphine Ernotte, who presides over the French public broadcaster France Televisions, has said it wished to exit Salto if their deal got through. All three TV groups own Salto in equal shares.
Under TF1 and M6’s agreement, which was announced during Series Mania on Thursday, the two companies would buy out France Televisions’ 33-percent equity interest in Salto which is valued at €45 million. “The new group would then own 100% of Salto, enabling it to develop a streaming project,” said TF1 and M6.
“Salto will remain under the joint control of its three shareholders throughout 2022 to facilitate the ongoing development of the platform, in line with undertakings made in connection with French Competition Authority decision,” added TF1 and M6 in a joint release.
As part of its digital strategy, France Televisions will look to continue building its own platform france.tv if it exits Salto, Ernotte recently said.
When unveiling their plans last year, TF1 and M6 said they were seeking to merge their activities and “create a major French media group” and “master the challenges arising from the accelerating competition with global platforms.”
The proposed merger would see Bouygues detaining a 30% stake in M6 Groupe, and RTL Group would retain 16% of the capital. Nicolas de Tavernost, the long-time CEO of M6 Groupe, would remain at the company as chairman, and Bouygues would have exclusive control over the merged company, acting in concert with RTL Group as a strategic shareholder.