TF1 completes Newen deal

TF1 has completed its controversial 70% buyout of French producer and distributor Newen Group.

In a statement, France’s largest commercial broadcaster said that it had obtained clearance from all the relevant authorities and has completed the deal under terms it agreed last year.

TF1 and FLCP, the holding company of the Newen Group, agreed in November that TF1 would take a majority stake in the company, with the existing shareholders, including the management team, retaining a 30% equity interest.

At the time, TF1 said that the main objective of the deal was to develop French production in foreign markets, especially with major European broadcasters.

However, the move has proved controversial in TF1’s home market. After TF1entered exclusive talks with Newen in October, public broadcaster France Télévisions suspended all of its development work with the indie, and France’s indie body the USPA expelled the producer from its ranks.

A strongly-worded statement by France Télévisions, reacting to the negotiations, claimed it was responsible for more than two-thirds of Newen’s revenues, and that a deal raised alarming wider issues for its production arrangements with indies.

“We reject the idea that France Télévisions’ investments, principally financed by citizens’ contribution through the licence fee, can today be the object of this type of commercial negotiation,” the statement read.

“It is the ideas, know-how and expertise developed in partnership with the public service that would constitute the essential part of this operation between our principal supplier and one of our principal competitors.”

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