Canal Plus Group is on track to acquire M7, a leading pay-TV company in Europe operating in Benelux and Central Europe, as it aims to ramp up its subscriber base across the continent.
The acquisition, which has yet to be approved by the European Commission, would create a turnover of more than €400 million and boost the profitability of Canal Plus Group and its parent company Vivendi, according to the Paris-based outfit. The deal, valued at slightly over €1 billion, would allow Canal Plus – already established in France, Switzerland and Poland – to expand into additional European territories and have nearly 20 million subscribers worldwide, including 12 million in Europe.
Owned by Astorg, a leading European private equity firm, M7 is an aggregator and distributor of local and international channels via satellite and OTT platforms, notably Disney Channel, HBO, Eurosport, National Geographic, and Nickelodeon. Its subscriber base, estimated at 3 million, stretches from the Netherlands to Belgium, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania. Nearly 1 million of those subscribers have access to a basic access package.
M7 would bring an additional distribution platform for Canal Plus Group’s content, which represents a yearly investment of more than €3 billion. Through its original programming (Création Originale) division, Canal Plus Group has delivered a flurry of local and international drama hits, such as “The Returned,” “Braquo” and “Versailles.” Studiocanal, the company’s film and TV drama production and distribution arm, is established in the U.K., Germany, Spain and Scandinavia, and boasts one of the world’s largest film libraries, with 6,000 international titles.
Maxime Saada, chairman of the Canal Plus Group’s executive board, said that with the acquisition of M7, “Canal Plus Group’s global subscriber base will have almost doubled in five years, with a clear acceleration starting in 2015.”
“This major operation will allow us to strengthen our distribution capacity in order to leverage content originating from our library and our numerous production operations in Europe,” Saada added.
Jacques du Puy, CEO of Canal Plus International, said the deal “will enable Canal Plus Group to combine the talents of the managerial teams of Canal Plus and M7” and reach a total of 40 countries across Europe, Africa and Asia.