France’s two main pay TV broadcasters are in talks about merging. The discussions involve Canal Satellite, which is jointly owned by Vivendi Universal and the media group Lagardere and TPS, where ownership is split between the commercial broadcasters TF1 and M6. A merger would end the fierce price war between the rivals and leave them better placed to fight competition from telecoms and internet firms.
But any deal is likely to be closely looked at by competition regulators as the two jointly control a significant If they do merge, the combined pay-TV company would become the second largest in Europe in terms of subscribers with 6.6 million, followed by Germany’s Premiere and Sky Italia, both with around 3.5 million and Digital of Spain.
Britain’s Sky – with 11.7 million subscribers – remains the leader. This is just the latest in a series of such merger proposals as media companies, phone network operators and Internet service providers find themselves increasingly in competition. Analysts welcomed the prospect saying it is a combination that makes sense, particularly as it would reduce the competition between the two companies for sporting and film rights.