Lagardere to sell off TV stake

Conglom puts up for sale 20% stake in Canal Plus France

Gallic conglom Lagardere confirmed Thursday its intention to sell a 20% stake in Gallic paybox giant Canal Plus France.

CPF is 80% owned by Vivendi via its 100% film-TV subsid, Canal Plus Group. But getting a good price for the stake is no slam dunk.

The divestment, while expected, raises questions about boss Arnaud Lagardere’s commitment to the TV biz. Lagardere is already in negotiations to sell V17, a digital terrestrial television channel, to Gaul’s Bollore Group.

Lagardere can “find a buyer or force an initial public offering,” Enders Analysis’ Francois Godard told Daily Variety. “The only possible interested buyer” is Vivendi itself, he added.

Vivendi CEO Jean-Bernard Levy told analysts in March that Vivendi wanted to buy out minority shareholders in Canal Plus and telco SFR.

Lagardere is under pressure to reduce its $2.4 billion debt.

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