Friday, December 9, 2016

Vincent Bolloré and Stéphane Richard to discuss the redemption of Canal+, Le Figaro

Orange would be interested to buy out Canal+, “if the encrypted string was for sale,” said Stéphane Richard, CEO of telecom operator. If discussions would take place well, no agreement has yet been found.

Orange would be interested in a takeover of the group’s pay-TV Canal+, a subsidiary of Vivendi, if it was put on sale, said Thursday the boss of the telecom operator of france’s Stéphane Richard quoted on Thursday by Echoes. “If Canal+ was on sale, it is certain that Orange was interested in,” said the manager when asked about the assumptions of reconciliation between the two groups mentioned for several months. “A lot of reasons for an alliance between Orange and Canal+ which is the form and the extent remain to be defined,” said Stéphane Richard, speaking on the sidelines of a travel to Morocco.

Vivendi, the parent company of Canal+, under the leadership of its main shareholder, Vincent Bolloré, spends a lot of effort for a recovery of the encrypted string without success for the moment to stop the bleeding of subscribers. A reconciliation between Orange and Vivendi has been referred to by several media outlets, while Canal+ is exposed to competition more and more lively in the contents of the SFR, a subsidiary of the group Altice. The Italian media have raised the possibility of the contribution by Vivendi of its share of the 24,19% of Telecom Italia to Orange in exchange for his entry into the capital of the historic operator in French.

According to BFM Business, “several meetings” have taken place during recent weeks between Stéphane Richard and Vincent Bolloré. Orange has launched the marketing for three months now – an offer for its set-top box internet-TV which includes the channels of Canal+. A winning formula in that it brings to the encrypted string half of its new subscribers. These are the fruits of this collaboration, which has inspired the two men to go further. “It is logical that Orange become a shareholder of Canal+ to take advantage of the value creation provided by our distribution network,” says one of them. The recovery of Channel depends on a lot of us,” BFM, which cites several sources close to the telecoms operator.

Orange seeks stake in Canal+ to strengthen this value chain. “In the case where he would get a minority stake, the group hopes that it is sufficiently important to weigh in the strategy of the chain. It also calls for guarantees, including on governance”, say these same sources. At Vivendi and in the entourage of Vincent Bolloré, this is not the same story: there is “nothing else” than a discussion on the content, and above all, there is nothing “capitalistic”. But according to a close relative of Stéphane Richard, also quoted by BFM, the will of Bolloré to enter the capital of Orange would block the negotiations.


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