Vivendi Relieves Murdoch of Lossmaking Italian TV Venture

15 February 2002

New York-headquartered French media group Vivendi Universal revealed Wednesday it had agreed to buy lossmaking Italian pay-TV broadcaster Stream from its part owner, News Corporation.

In the pipeline for several months, the deal will see one hundred per cent of Stream eventually transferred to Vivendi’s pay-TV unit Canal Plus. However, NewsCorp must first buy the 50% of Stream currently owned by Telecom Italia and transfer this to Vivendi.

The plan is to merge Stream with Vivendi’s rival pay-TV unit Telepiu – also deeply in the red – with the expectation of eventually moving into profit via consolidation of overheads and other costs

Lips were zipped as to the amount of cash changing hands, although Vivendi chairman Jean-Marie Messier earlier revealed he was prepared to pay around $600 for each of Stream’s 650,000 subscribers – equating to $390 million in total (€448m; £273.2m).

The deal requires approval by Italy’s regulatory authorities.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff