According to industry reports, Vivendi-owned Canal+ is set to be the largest single shareholder in Viaplay after the Nordic media company’s recapitalisation saw the French pay-TV operator increase its stake to 29.33 per cent.
Viaplay has completed its US$383 million recapitalisation, including a US$191 million debt write-down that saw Czech investment firm PPF take a 29 per cent stake. Canal+ acquired a 12 per cent stake in July last year as Viaplay made emergency moves to secure financial stability following a disastrous set of quarterly results and a withdrawal from several expansion markets.
Maxime Saada, Canal+ chairman and chief executive, said: “Canal+ Group welcomes the successful completion of Viaplay’s recapitalisation. With a sound capital structure, a clear plan, and a new and committed management team, Viaplay has laid the ground for a successful turnaround.
“Our group’s support to Viaplay is a new testimony to our ambition to become a global player in video entertainment and extend the group’s footprint internationally, with a focus on Europe, Africa, and Asia, as also shown very recently by our offer to acquire the entire share capital of Multichoice Group and our investment in leading Asian steaming platform Viu last year.”
Vivendi announced in December last year that it is exploring options to spin out Canal+ as one of four separate listed entities and is undertaking an international expansion plan.
Having acquired Luxembourg-based M7 in 2019, Canal+ recently made an indicative bid to gain overall control of South African pay-TV operator MultiChoice. That offer was rejected, with the MultiChoice board saying it undervalued the company, but Canal+ did increase its stake above 35 per cent. Under South African regulations, this should trigger a mandatory offer for company control.