Digital divorce

TKP seeks damages from @Entertainment

PARIS — Plans for a digital marriage between Telewizja Korporacja Poland, the parent company of pay television Canal Plus Polska, and U.S.-based @Entertainment appear to have been transformed into divorce proceedings.

TKP is heading to the International Chamber of Commerce, seeking damages from @Entertainment for allegedly violating a letter of intent that was designed to bring the two sides together in a digital pact.

Earlier this month, @Entertainment’s CEO Robert Fowler said his company had ceased discussions and would launch a digital platform in September. Canal Plus Polska is also planning to unveil its own digital platform that month.

Neither side would say why the talks had collapsed. A letter of intent signed on April 17 gave the two sides until May 31 to reach a definitive deal. @Entertainment was supposed to buy a 40% stake in TKP for about $110 million.

Canal Plus Polska sources claim that the collapse of the talks was the fault of @Entertainment and are now looking for arbitration at the International Chamber of Commerce. The same sources said that if the case is found in their favor, Canal Plus Polska will seek an unspecified amount of damages.

The prospect of two rival digital platforms in Poland is one that has left many observers puzzled as few people believe the country can support two rival offerings. In keeping with its international strategy, the Canal Plus group has signed up rights to most of the major pics coming out of the Hollywood studios and has a five-year contract to carry Poland’s first division soccer games.

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