In May, talks broke down between Yahoo and French online video site Dailymotion with France refusing to relinquish control of the successful start-up. Two months later, another key Internet company is poised to return to its Gallic roots. French investment group Fimalac has entered exclusive negotiations to acquire AlloCiné, the top film web portal in France, which greatly resembles MovieFone. The current owner is U.S. based Tiger Global Management. Fimalac chief Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière is understood to be willing to pay up to 70M euros ($91M) for the site which also operates local versions in such countries as Germany, Spain, the UK, Turkey and Brazil. AlloCiné was founded in 1993 as a phone service for movie showtimes. It became the first European cinema portal in 1997 and was owned for a time by Canal Plus. According to French media reports, the company has annual revenues of 19M euros. Fimalac has diversified interests including 50% of Fitch Ratings, holdings in UK real estate, and theater and concert promotion businesses. It recently acquired media company Webedia which includes celebrity websites Purepeople.com and Purefans.com. The president of Fimalac Developments, Véronique Morali, told Le Monde, “The idea is to build a French digital entertainment champion by merging the two companies.”
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