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TF1 sells its Unify digital media division to Reworld

Refocusing on its core audiovisual activity: the TF1 group announced on Tuesday that it had signed an agreement with the Reworld group to sell its digital media division Unify (Marmiton, Doctissimo, auféminin, Les Numériques, etc.), while this subsidiary is experiencing difficulties in becoming profitable. If the amount of the operation has not been communicated, the turnover of all Unify activities has been estimated at 60 million euros by Reworld.

“The final completion of the transaction remains subject to the usual conditions precedent in this area, in particular the authorization of the Competition Authority”the two parties said in a statement. “If the operation is carried out, Reworld Media, through its vision of the market and its know-how, will be the best partner to support this division and its talents, and enable them to pursue sustainable growth”said Gilles Pélisson, CEO of the TF1 Group, quoted in the press release.

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The agreement covers twelve “digital marks”, said Reworld, while Unify is made up of several very popular websites such as Marmiton, aufeminin, Doctissimo and Les Numériques, bringing together 25 million unique visitors each month and more than 200 million page views per year, according to TF1. This division also has a creation and production studio, an advertising agency and an influence activity, Studio Fy, made up of 150 influencers, including around thirty exclusively.

Reworld and its controversial methods

“The operation would increase Reworld Media’s audience to more than 36 million unique monthly visitors according to Médiamétrie”said the company, owner of a dozen media such as Maison & Travaux, Grazia, Marie France or Auto Plus.

Employees from the Mondadori France group gather to protest against the threat of 700 layoffs following the announcement of the group's potential takeover by Reworld Media, in Paris, on October 18, 2018. (Photo by BERTRAND GUAY / AFP)

Reworld Media has made a name for itself in recent years through its numerous magazine acquisitions and sometimes controversial methods. Thus, journalists from Science et Vie, in disagreement with their owner, left to create the competitor Epsiloon. To justify this sale of assets, TF1 insists on its desire to refocus on its activity as an audiovisual content publisher, with its production subsidiary Newen and its investments in streaming.

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A sign of its disinvestment in the online press business, too far removed from its traditional television business, TF1 had already sold its digital advertising subsidiary Gamned! at the HLD investment fund last week. The sale of Unify, an activity that weighed on its accounts, such as the impairment of assets in the amount of 75 million euros carried out in December 2020, is part of a context where the planned merger between TF1 and M6 is awaiting the green light from several regulatory authorities.

The Competition Authority announced last March the opening of a “in-depth examination phase” of this very disputed project which upsets French television. A merger of TF1, owned by the Bouygues group, and M6 (put up for sale by the German group Bertelsmann), would have the effect of creating a French giant in the market for audiovisual rights, channel distribution and television advertising, with around 75% of French turnover in the latter sector.

The World with AFP

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