Vivendi and Rivals Mull French Pay-TV Consolidation

13 December 2005

French media giant Vivendi Universal is in talks with two rival groups about combining their pay-television operations.

Vivendi, which owns satellite company Canal Plus, is negotiating with commercial broadcasters TF1 and M6, which jointly own the TPS pay-TV business.

The potential collaboration is being sought to "meet the increased competition from telecommunications and internet companies". Vivendi's statement adds that a deal "would be in the best interest of current and future subscribers".

It would also be the realisation of Vivendi's long-held vision of consolidation in the French satellite TV market. This has so far been thwarted by TF1's ceo Patrick Le Lay, who has maintained his company can survive alone. But TPS is expected to add just 5,000 subscribers this year, which adds urgency to the discussions.

The interested parties are remaining zip-lipped until "the potential conclusion of these negotiations" and any deal would need the green light from France's regulatory authorities.

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