France'sFinance ministry has authorized the merger of rival satellite platforms TPS andCanal Plus, Canal parent company Vivendi said in astatement Thursday morning.

The merger between France'sbiggest pay-TV operators will create a new group in which Vivendiwill take an 85% share while TPS owners TF1 and M6 will each get 9.9% and 5.1%respectively according to previously released details.

The new entity "will help give fresh momentum to theFrench television and film market. Thanks to greater investment in high-qualityexclusive TV and film programs, consumers will benefit from a more extensive,diversified and attractive offering," Vivendi said.

Indeed, coupling up shouldstrengthen both sides, decrease cut-throat competition for film titles andfootball rights and also give the new group a stronger position on theinternational scene.

The full transaction is expected to be completed laterthis year.