Canal retains Spanish interest

By Julian Clover
Published: November 1, 2010 11.16 Europe/London

Canal Plus chief Bertrand Méheut has said the French pay-TV operator remains interested in a return to the Spanish Digital Plus pay-TV platform.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Méheut said he remained “open” to buying the Astra-Hispasat- delivered mini-pay platform, despite last year’s rejection of a €2.4 billion joint offer from Canal’s parent company Vivendi and Spanish telco Telefónica.
Prisa subsequently went on to sell 21% of holding company Sogecable (now Prisa TV), to Telefonica and 22% to Mediaset’s Telecino, the latter the subject of an enquiry by media regulator CMT.
Having withdrawn from the majority of its international interests at the turn of the century, such expansion is now back on the agenda, Canal making regular overtures regarding the Spanish market.
In his FT interview, Méheut said he would be happy to work with Telefónica, though no official talks have taken place.
Regarding the French domestic market Méheut warned the French football authorities not to expect Canal to compensate them for the decision by Orange not to bid again for top flight soccer rights. There would he said be no return to the €600 million paid for exclusivity in 2005.