EC OKs Canal+, telco control of AOL France

Companies to grab 55% of online giant's French outfit

PARIS — The European Commission has given the go-ahead for pay TV group Canal Plus and French telephone company Cegetel to take a majority stake in America Online France.

The decision means that Cegetel and Canal Plus, which both have Vivendi (formerly Compagnie Generale des Eaux) as their main shareholder, will take 55% of AOL France and CompuServe France. America Online and Germany’s Bertelsmann group will control the remaining 45%.

The deal was originally signed in January, subject to approval from Brussels. It marks the first tangible example of Vivendi chairman Jean-Marie Messier’s vision of marrying television programming and subscription service expertise (via Canal Plus), with telephony (Cegetel) and the internet.

The marriage also means that AOL France becomes the market leader in Gaul with some 285,000 subscribers, compared to 280,000 for France Telecom’s Wanadoo service.

On a strategic front, Messier watchers see the alliance as a chance for Vivendi to work closer with Bertelsmann. Vivendi, via Havas, has a minority stake in CLT-Ufa, in which Bertelsmann has a major share.

More Digital

  • YouTube logo

    YouTube Streams Over 180 Million Hours to TV Screens Every Day

    PARIS — The European Commission has given the go-ahead for pay TV group Canal Plus and French telephone company Cegetel to take a majority stake in America Online France. The decision means that Cegetel and Canal Plus, which both have Vivendi (formerly Compagnie Generale des Eaux) as their main shareholder, will take 55% of AOL […]

  • Trump Davos

    Trump Tariffs Could Make Apple Watch, Sonos Speakers More Expensive (Report)

    PARIS — The European Commission has given the go-ahead for pay TV group Canal Plus and French telephone company Cegetel to take a majority stake in America Online France. The decision means that Cegetel and Canal Plus, which both have Vivendi (formerly Compagnie Generale des Eaux) as their main shareholder, will take 55% of AOL […]

  • ABC - More In Common

    ABC Hopes Feel-Good Series for Facebook About Americans Uniting Goes Viral

    PARIS — The European Commission has given the go-ahead for pay TV group Canal Plus and French telephone company Cegetel to take a majority stake in America Online France. The decision means that Cegetel and Canal Plus, which both have Vivendi (formerly Compagnie Generale des Eaux) as their main shareholder, will take 55% of AOL […]

  • Disney Cycles VR Short Film

    Disney Animation's First VR Film, 'Cycles,' Set to Premiere

    PARIS — The European Commission has given the go-ahead for pay TV group Canal Plus and French telephone company Cegetel to take a majority stake in America Online France. The decision means that Cegetel and Canal Plus, which both have Vivendi (formerly Compagnie Generale des Eaux) as their main shareholder, will take 55% of AOL […]

  • Beta Film Boards ‘The Pier,’ from

    Beta Film Boards ‘The Pier,’ from ‘Casa de Papel’ Creator Alex Pina

    PARIS — The European Commission has given the go-ahead for pay TV group Canal Plus and French telephone company Cegetel to take a majority stake in America Online France. The decision means that Cegetel and Canal Plus, which both have Vivendi (formerly Compagnie Generale des Eaux) as their main shareholder, will take 55% of AOL […]

  • Michelle Kempner

    BuzzFeed Entertainment Operations Head Michelle Kempner Exiting for Facebook

    PARIS — The European Commission has given the go-ahead for pay TV group Canal Plus and French telephone company Cegetel to take a majority stake in America Online France. The decision means that Cegetel and Canal Plus, which both have Vivendi (formerly Compagnie Generale des Eaux) as their main shareholder, will take 55% of AOL […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content