Merger is likely for Vivendi spinoff

Would dilute stake of shareholders Liberty, Lagardere

PARIS — Vivendi Universal’s Canal Plus Group wants to merge loss-making MultiThematiques, which owns and produces theme channels in Europe, with U’s theme channels.

Canal Plus, which has a 27.4% stake in MultiThematiques, revealed its plans at a shareholders meeting Tuesday.

If the merger were to go ahead, it would dilute the stake of the other major MultiThematiques shareholders: John Malone’s group Liberty Media (27.4%) and Lagardere (27.4%).

Representatives from Canal Plus and Liberty Media met before the meeting to see if Malone would be prepared to pull out of the channeler, but no decision was made.

Lagardere is keen to play an important role in the network and plans to add channels based on the magazines “Elle” and “Paris Match.”

MultiThematiques told Daily Variety Wednesday that no decision regarding its future has yet been reached.

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