Lagardère declares himself “ready to buy” Canal Plus France

Arnaud Lagardère

Arnaud Lagardère

Lagardère boss Arnaud Lagardère has said he could be prepared to buy the 80% of Canal Plus France held by Vivendi if the latter “lacks optimism about the future” of the pay TV group.

In an interview with Le Monde ahead of his company’s annual general meeting today, Lagardère said he was ready to study the acquisition of Vivendi’s 80% stake with a view to floating it on the stock market under favourable conditions.

Lagardère has been locked in a battle with Vivendi over the fate of its existing 20% stake in Canal Plus France. In February the company filed a lawsuit claiming that Vivendi was deliberately attempting to diminish the value of the pay TV operator to force Lagardère to abandon its plan to float its stake.

Lagardère’s latest comments have met with scepticism amongst French analysts and industry observers. Vivendi has made no indication that it is prepared to sell and Lagardère recently announced an exceptional dividend of €9 per share to shareholders on the sale of its stake in defence group EADS.

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