Vivendi committed to Canal Plus; talks up Bolloré, TVN deals

French conglomerate Vivendi has said it is committed to retaining premium channel operator and programme producer Canal Plus as well as its telco and music assets.

Jean-Bernard Lévy, Vivendi’s chief executive reaffirmed its commitment to remaining “a content and platform company” as it reported quarterly results and updated the market on its acquisition of Bolloré’s French DTT channels and its recent deal with Poland’s TVN.

Speaking about the Bolloré deal, Julien Verley, executive vice-president, finance and strategy said that Vivendi will finalise its necessary procedural duties with the relevant employment bodies within weeks and then it can formally notify the French antitrust office. “And then we anticipate not a too long process, because as you probably know, we have not real activity in the free-to-air business right now, so this should take probably a few months,” Verley told analysts.

He added that regulatory clearance should not be impacted by the ongoing process relating to the conditions of the 2006 Canal Satellite and TPS merger. 
Canal+ and TVN recently agreed to merge their pay TV platforms, n and Cyfra+, and Canal+ took a minority stake in TVN’s parent company.

CFO Philippe Capron said of the TVN and Bolloré deals: “Two very important partnerships have been signed, as I mentioned earlier, the Bolloré deal, which will enable Canal to jump-start its development into free-to-air, with very significant cost and revenue synergies expected with the core Pay TV activity. And the deal in Poland which is under – which is still under exclusive negotiation with ITI and TVN, with as a first step, the consolidation of the Pay TV market, where Canal already is a major participant.

Canal+ Group’s recorded revenues of €3.6 billion million for the first nine months of 2011, a 2.9% increase compared to the same period in 2010. Canal+ France’s revenues increased by 1.8% to €3 billion, notably driven by an increase in subscribers.

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