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Orange chief says not in talks about acquiring Canal+

Stéphane Richard

Stéphane Richard

Orange is not currently in talks with Vivendi about an acquisition of Canal+ by the telco or about an entry by Vivendi chairman Vincent Bolloré into Orange’s capital, according to the telecom operator’s CEO Stéphane Richard.

Speaking to France’s Radio Classique this morning, Richard said that Orange has multiple interests in content and that this was the case now more than ever, but that this did not mean that it was in talks to take over the Vivendi-owned pay TV outfit.

“Canal+ is a natural partner for Orange,” he said, in relation to its role in France and its distribution partnership with Orange, as well as its growing position in Africa, where Orange has also been expanding.

“There are lots of complementarities and lots of areas of cooperation,” he said. “We are not speaking for the moment about acquisition or the entry of Orange into the capital of Canal, or about the entry of Bolloré into the capital of Orange.”

He said this was not part of current discussions, although he said they two companies was in talks about cooperation across a range of topics where the pair had common interests.

Richard has repeatedly denied that Orange had an interest in acquiring the pay TV group amid constant press speculation about a possible deal, recently telling BFM TV that, to his knowledge, Canal+ was not for sale.

Richard also told Radio Classique that Orange – like other companies – was currently feeling the impact of political uncertainty in France over the result of the forthcoming general election. This, he said, related to the overall impact of uncertainty on stock valuations as well as a broader anxiety about France’s debt.