Newly merged media group Vivendi Universal plans to launch a new sports channel to rival Eurosport following the expected sale of its minority holding in the latter.

Vivendi currently holds a 49.5% stake in the continent-wide network Eurosport International, with French TV station TF1 holding the rest. However, the media giant announced on Friday that it would “probably” sell its stake to TF1 and then set up a new channel which it could “control completely”.

Vivendi currently basks in the warm but temporary glow of being the world’s largest media conglomerate – a radiance that will cool when the merger between AOL and Time Warner is formalised in the near future and relegates the French group to second place.

News source: Financial Times [29-Dec-00]