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Monday, 22 July, 2002, 08:57 GMT 09:57 UK
Canal Plus 'to be broken up'
Jean-Rene Fourtou
Mr Fourtou is confident he can solve the crisis
The indebted media giant Vivendi Universal may decide to break up its French pay-TV channel Canal Plus rather than to sell it as a whole, as had been rumoured last week, according to the newspaper Le Figaro.

The news sent shares in Canal Plus, which is Europe's largest pay-TV operator, 5% lower by afternoon trading as speculators who had bought the stock last week pulled out.

"Canal Plus rose last week on hopes a deal was imminent. Not it looks like it's not going to happen. That's what's hitting the stock," explained one trader.

Instead of an outright sale of Canal Plus, Vivendi chief executive Jean-Rene Fourtou might sell its film production and distribution assets as well as some of its non-French subsidiaries in Spain, Portugal and Poland, Le Figaro reported.

Mr Fourtou was holding meetings on Monday to discuss what to do with Vivendi's assets.

Vivendi declined to comment on the report.

Crisis solution

A break-up of Canal Plus would be part of Vivendi's plan to turn itself around after having seen its shares dive and in the face of an investigation by the French stock market regulator.

Under Mr Fourtou plans, "all the operations of Canal Plus Distribution are up for sale," said Le Figaro.

It said Canal Plus would remain part of Vivendi Universal, which would not sell its profitable French TV channels.

Among the units due to be auctioned were the cinema and audiovisual production house Studio Canal; film distribution unit UGC: decoder maker Canal Plus Technologies and new media and Internet activities, the newspaper said.

See also:

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