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Canal Plus optimistic re: EC merger sanction

Outcome to be revealed in a matter of months, 'Net activities still undecided

PARIS — Canal Plus director Denis Olivennes said he is optimistic that the European Commission in Brussels will give the go-ahead to the Vivendi/Seagram/Canal Plus merger.

Earlier this month the Commission temporarily halted its scrutiny of the multimillion-dollar merger until the companies gave more details about the deal.

Press reports said the pay TV group expects the European Commission to take no more than two months to come to its conclusion.

“It could all happen between now and the end of September,” Olivennes said.

Olivennes also said that no decision has been made over how to deal with Canal Plus’ Internet activities. He was responding to French government criticism that the TV conglomerate would lose control over these activities, once the merger is completed.

“What will happen to Net activities linked to the group’s different brands is under discussion,” he said.

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