Orange "considering bid" for Canal Plus stake

By:
James Pearce
Published on:

Vivendi says it is not part of potential talks between its pay-TV unit and the French operator

Orange is eyeing up a bid for a stake in Vivendi’s pay-TV service Canal Plus, should the French company decide to sell, according to reports.

Reuters claims Orange would consider co-investing or an outright purchase of the Canal Plus service, which it has been partnered with since 2011.

“If Canal Plus were up for sale tomorrow, Orange would definitely look into it, obviously,” CEO Stéphane Richard said. “There are many reasons that suggest forging closer ties.”

The two firm’s have been locked in talks about Orange investing in Vivedi’s pay-TV group, Reuters claimed, quoting sources familiar with the matter.

The reports come just months after Orange was forced to deny striking a “secret deal” with the French media group that would see it become the biggest shareholder in Telecom Italia.

Reports in a French magazine had claimed Orange would take up a stake or around 20% in Canal Plus and Telecom Italia as part of an agreement.

Orange is looking to build closer ties with Vivendi in order to better compete with other French operators, such as Altice’s SFR, by offering video content to subscribers.

Operators worldwide are looking to arm themselves with content, with AT&T executives last week facing the US Senate to discuss its proposed $84 billion takeover of Time Warner.

A spokesperson for Vivendi said it was not involved in any possible discussions between Orange and Canal Plus, and also ruled out a cross-ownership deal involving Telecom Italia, according to Reuters.