PARIS, May 19 (Reuters) - Any demand by France's antitrust
watchdog for M6 or TF1 to sell either of their flagship channels
as a condition for approving their proposed merger would be a
deal breaker, TF1 boss Gilles Pelisson said on Wednesday.
France's two biggest private TV groups announced their
tie-up plans on Monday in what they said was a response to the
accelerating challenges from global platforms.
The main challenge for TF1 and M6 and their respective
parent companies, French conglomerate Bouygues and
Germany's Bertelsmann, is to obtain clearance from
France's competition authority, as the combined entity would
have sway over three-quarters of the country's TV advertising.
"If there was a demand for a sale of either TF1 or M6
channel as part of the remedies, neither group would accept
that," Pelisson said in a call with analysts.
TF1's chief executive also mentioned the risk of having the
two TV groups' licence not renewed by the French broadcasting
authority CSA as another potential deal breaker.
But Pelisson struck an optimistic tone when pressed by
analysts to detail the reasons why he thought the deal could win
antitrust approval without having to give up its most prized
He mentioned the approval the watchdog gave for the merger
of French retailers Fnac and Darty in 2016 in a decision which
took into account the rise of e-commerce and market leader
When asked if TF1 had sounded out the French government
about the deal ahead of time, Pelisson said that was the case
and that the response from the government was positive.
"We did... You may conclude that if we are here this
morning... there was favourable welcome to this project," he
(Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain; editing by Jason Neely and