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Vivendi denies Orange Canal+ rumours

The Vivendi office is seen in Paris on Wednesday, May 17, 2006.Vivendi denied over the weekend that it was in talks with Orange and said that there was no discussion of a possible deal involving Telecom Italia as well as Orange and Vivendi.

Vivendi’s refutation followed Orange CEO Stéphane Richard’s widely reported comments from an event in Morocco last week that  Orange would consider buying Canal+ if Vivendi put it up for sale.

This was followed by French press reports that a deal could involve a wider cross-ownership deal between Orange and Vivendi that may also involve Italy’s Telecom Italia, in which Vivendi is the largest shareholder with a 24% stake.

A deal with Canal+ would potentially put Orange in a better place to see off any challenge from Altic-owned SFR, which is investing significantly in content and channels in France, most recently signing exclusive partnerships with Discovery and NBCUniversal.

Orange recently struck a deal with Canal+ to offer the latter’s channels as part of an integrated offering with its own broadband service.