Cash-strapped Vivendi Universal is reportedly planning to dismember Canal Plus, Europe’s largest pay-TV operator, and put a hefty chunk of it up for sale.

According to an article in Le Figaro, new Vivendi boss Jean-René Fourtou wants to retain Canal’s profitable French pay-TV operations but hang a ‘for sale’ sign over its counterparts in Spain, Belgium and Poland.

The media mammoth will also try to dispose of Canal Plus’s online operations, its cinema production unit Studio Canal, film distributor UGC and smart-card manufacturer Canal Plus Technologies.

The loss-making Canal Plus proved a particularly painful thorn in the side of Fourtou’s recently departed predecessor Jean-Marie Messier, who faced angry mobs after he fired the unit’s popular chairman Pierre Lescure [WAMN: 17-Apr-02].

Data sourced from: BBC Online Business News (UK); additional content by WARC staff