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Inside Move: Canal Plus rumors swirl

Feffer denies reports of his post-merger ankling

PARIS — The rumor mill in the Paris broadcasting world is spinning out of control as speculation runs rife over who among the top brass at pay TV Canal Plus might be axed once the Dec. 5 shareholders’ meetings at Canal Plus, Vivendi and Seagram seal their $34 billion merger.

Press reports suggest Marc-Andre Feffer, Canal Plus VP, could be one of those to go. Feffer was a prominent architect of the complicated deal that had to be forged in order satisfy stringent French broadcasting regulations ahead of the merger.

Le Figaro newspaper reports rumors that Feffer is already looking at another job. In the not-too-distant future, the paper said, Feffer could even be tipped as head of the Centre national de la cinematographie (CNC), the body in France that subsidizes film and TV production.

“I am not leaving Canal Plus. And I have not applied for a job as head of the CNC, nor was I offered it,” Feffer told Daily Variety.

Canal Plus director of programming Alain De Greef, on the other hand, is doing his own speculating about his career. In a recent interview, he said he was no longer “in control of my future.”

“I only know that rumors are running wild. I don’t know anything else. But I will continue along the line I have forged for the past 17 years as director of programs at Canal Plus. Maybe I will be fired. That is the logic of this profession,” De Greef told the French daily Le Monde.

It is rumored in the French press that Michel Thoulouze, head of Multithematiques, the rapidly growing theme channel company owned by Canal Plus, the French media group Lagardere and Liberty Media, may negotiate his departure over the next few weeks. Thoulouze could not be reached for comment.

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