TF1 and M6 shares fall as Bertelsmann scrambles for new suitor ahead of deadline

France’s two largest broadcasters have seen their share price tumble after they abandoned plans to merge.

Bouygues, RTL Group, Groupe TF1 and Groupe M6 called off the merger, initially announced in May, on Friday after the French Competition Authority ruling that further concessions would have to be made in order for it to be approved

M6’s shares were down by 4.6% on Monday, while TF1’s price was down 3.7%. Bertelsmann, which controls M6 also saw its shares drop by more than 1%.

The deal was designed to create a major local player to challenge the Hollywood-backed streaming operators like Netflix and Disney, but will now continue their struggle to remain competitive as businesses independent from one another.

An additional twist to this story is the necessity for Bertelsmann to find a buyer for its 48.3% stake in M6 (held via RTL), as renewing the broadcaster’s licence will bar it from exploring a sale for five years. RTL leaders were said to meet with M6 leadership on Monday to discuss future plans.

Potential suitors for M6 could include Altice, owned by billionaire Patrick Drahi, and Vivendi, which had been vocal in its opposition to the TF1-M6 merger. 

Further afield, Reuters reports that MediaForEurope (FKA Mediaset) could acquire M6 as it builds on a strategy of cross-border deals rather than national consolidation. MFE was previously in the race prior to the announced deal with TF1, and is building a stake in Germany’s ProSiebenSat.1. 

MFE’s shares were up over 6% on the news.

Read Next