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Vivendi and CANAL+ to sell Italian Pay-TV stake
By Jon Newton,
(more articles from this author)
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Music Industry News - as it happens
Source: Mi2N - June 11, 2002

Shaky Vivendi Universal and CANAL+ Group have signed a memorandum of understanding with News Corp to sell their entire stake in the Italian Pay-TV Platform TELE+

Vivendi Chairman and CEO Jean-Marie Messier says, "TELE+ accounted for just 10% of CANAL+'s European subscriber base, but represented two-thirds of CANAL+ Group's cash losses in 2001.

"At the same time, the transaction illustrates our commitment to rapidly reducing Vivendi Universal's debt. The resulting debt reduction and the elimination of one of the Group's major sources of cash flow losses will help improve our performance, our balance sheet and our debt ratios," he said.

The sale will enable CANAL+ Group to focus its investments on pay-television markets in France, Spain (through its stake in Sogecable) and Northern Europe (Poland, Benelux, and the Nordic countries), and to pursue its growth in the production of French and European films and TV programs, state the two firms.

"The transaction is worth €1.5 billion, including assumed debt of €750 million (of which €300 million in the form of a shareholder loan)," they say. "The sale price includes €200 million to reimburse the purchase of sports program rights (soccer rights for the 2003/2004 seasons). The transaction values each TELE+ subscriber at €1,000. This is higher than the price previously considered for Stream subscriber, illustrating the value of TELE+'s market leadership."

When completed, the transaction will reduce Vivendi Universal's debt by €1.2 billion, of which €750 million is in cash, and in addition, CANAL+ Group will hold a monetizable receivable of €300 million, fully guaranteed by News Corporation, which means the total impact will be €1.5 billion," the companies say, continuing, "The transaction will result in a small capital gain: the price exceeds the net book value after the impairment test realized in the 2001 French accounts and in the first quarter 2002 US Gaap accounts, in compliance with the FAS-141 accounting standard."

The final contract will be submitted to antitrust authorities for approval.

Related News from Mi2N:
» Vivendi Universal And CANAL+ Group Today Signed A Memorandum Of Understanding With News Corporation To Sell Their Entire Stake In Italian Pay-TV Platform TELE+

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