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French eye rights co-op

Pearson/CLT-Ufa merger creates RTL Group, Canal + may be involved

PARIS — Canal Plus may cooperate in acquisition of rights for sports events and Hollywood films with the production/broadcast group just formed from the merger of Pearson TV and CLT-Ufa.

Pierre Lescure, chief executive of French pay television operator Canal Plus, indicated as much when he was quoted in the French press as saying the two groups are “strongly compatible.”

The new group, reportedly called RTL Group, is a giant in free television, while Canal Plus specializes in pay TV.

The new chief executive of CLT-Ufa, Didier Bellens, also hinted in press reports at alliances between the new group and Canal Plus, saying he would “shortly announce an acquisition in the area of TV production.”

Meanwhile, French financial newspapers report that Canal Plus Image, CP’s film production and distribution affiliate, is expected to go public soon.

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