Canal Plus CEO Bertrand MÃ©heut is mulling the possible acquisition of a stake in Spanish pay TV operator Digital Plus, according to press reports.
MÃ©heut told the Financial Times newspaper that he was openÂ to buying the Spanish pay broadcaster, but said that there had been no talks with majority owner Prisa since last year, when the Spanish group rejected a joint offer from Canal Plus parent company Vivendi and TelefÃ³nica. Spanish regulators have just conditionally approved a purchase by MediasetÂs Telecinco of a 22% stake in Digital Plus.
MÃ©heut also indicated that Canal Plus would not overpay for exclusive rights to French Ligue 1 football rights when they are renewed in 2012.
Liberum Capital placed a ÂbuyÂ recommendation on Vivendi following MÃ©heutÂs interview. Analysts said the mention of Digtial Plus was ÂsurprisingÂ but pointed out that Canal Plus may believe Âit has the upper hand in negotiations given the lack of subscriber growth in the businessÂ. The analysts also noted that MÃ©heut wasÂ planning aÂ launch of pay-TV services in Brazil, where Vivendi owns telco GVT.
Liberum estimated the cost of a Vivendi acquisition of Digital Plus could involve an outlay of Â1.31 billion, approximately the same price Vivendi recently refused to pay for LagardÃ¨reÂs 22% stake in Canal Plus.
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