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French broadcasters’ merger falls through

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PARIS — France’s TV broadcasters TF1 and M6 have decided to give up their controversial merger plans, they announced Friday.

“Following the discussions with the [national competition authority] and despite the additional remedies proposed, it appears that only structural remedies concerning at least the divestiture of the TF1 channel or the M6 channel would allow the transaction to be authorized,” they wrote in a joint statement.

The plans, announced last year and backed by the Elysée Palace and public broadcaster France Télévisions, aimed to create a broadcasting powerhouse able to compete against U.S. streaming giants such as Netflix. The new company would have owned about 70 percent of the country’s TV advertising market, which raised competition concerns.

The companies’ decision follows two days of hearings with the country’s Autorité de la concurrence. TF1 and M6 are owned by French company Bouygues and RTL Group (itself owned by German media conglomerate Bertelsmann), respectively.

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