Orange in talks to sell sports channel to Al Jazeera

France Telecom/Orange is in talks with Al Jazeera over a possible sale of its Orange Sport service to the Qatar-based broadcaster, which recently won the rights to air live coverage of two French Ligue 1 football matches each weekend.

Speaking at an economics conference in Aix-en-Provence, France Telecom CEO Stéphane Richard told the Reuters news agency that the question of what would happen to Orange Sport now that it no longer held rights to French football remained open, and that it was too soon to say more.

Al Jazeera last month secured one of nine packages offered by the French professional football league, the LFP, with pay TV group Canal Plus picking up four packages. Al Jazeera said at the time that it planned to launch a domestic sports channel in France to air the games.

Richard also said that France Telecom had finalized the details of its deal with Canal Plus whereby the latter would take a minority stake in the Orange Cinéma Series channels, with France Telecom retaining management control. 

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