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TF1 in talks to buy Newen stake

French broadcaster TF1 has entered into exclusive talks that could see it acquire a majority stake in production and distribution compatriot Newen Group.

A deal would hand the commercial network group a majority stake in the seven-year-old Newen, which produces around 1,300 hours a year and has a sales catalogue of more than 5,000 hours.

The news came on the same day TF1 revealed former Eurodisney boss Gilles Pelisson would become chairman and CEO of the group, replacing Nonce Paolini.

“TF1 and the Newen Group announce that they have today entered into exclusive negotiations with a view to forging a partnership in the production and distribution of audiovisual rights,” a statement read.

Newen-owned production companies Telfrance, Capa, Be Aware and 17 Juin Media are behind dramas such as Plus Belle La Vie, Braquo and Versailles, and unscripted programmes including Les Maternelles and L’effet Papillon and gameshow Harry. This makes the firm France’s third-largest producer.

Newen also operates the Newen Network, a formats alliance that beings together independent producers in Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and Canada, and owns digital business Neweb.

TF1 noted that acquiring Newen would make it the largest provider of programming to its rival French channels, and said the deal would give it new streams of revenue generation.

The firm pointed to the model UK commercial broadcast counterpart ITV had taken by acquiring Netherlands-based formats producer and distributor Talpa Media as further rationale.

Financial terms of the potential deal were not revealed, nor was a timeline on the agreement.