European broadcasting giant RTL Group has reaffirmed its belief the merger of its French subsidiary M6 with local rival TF1 must go ahead to keep competing with the likes of Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon.The merger is under threat after France’s competition authority raised concerns about the deal, which would unite Bouygues-owned TF1 and RTL’s M6, both leading commercial broadcasters in the country.
A plan to merge RTL Nederland with Dutch broadcaster Talpa Network is also being looked into by local competition watchdogs.In RTL Group’s half-year financial results revealed this morning, CEO Thomas Rabe addressed the situations as the company posted H1 revenue of €3.28BN ($3.35BN). “We expect the competition authorities in France and the Netherlands to decide on the proposed combinations of both Groupe TF1 and Groupe M6, and Talpa Network and RTL Nederland in autumn,” he said. “We remain convinced that market consolidation is necessary to compete with the global tech platforms.”RTL and Bouygues plan to address the French competition authority midway through this month, with hearings scheduled for September 5 and 6.
A final decision on the merger is expected to follow in October.Late last month, TF1 CEO Giles Pelisson raised alarm bells when he said: “The dream we shared is not necessarily shared by the competition authority.
On that basis, before the dream becomes a nightmare, there also needs to be a reality check, around the fact this dream may not happen.”A decision on the Talpa deal is expected this fall.RTL & Fremantle post growthRabe’s comments come as RTL posted H1 revenue of up 8.7% on the same period last year.Read more on deadline.com