It’s a big day for $1B+ overseas TV deals. French conglomerate Vivendi has agreed to pay €1.02B ($1.4B) in cash for media group Lagardère’s 20% holding in Canal Plus France. This will give Vivendi a 100% stake in the French pay-TV unit, which falls under the Canal Plus Group, of which Vivendi already holds 100%. The agreement follows years of back-and-forth that has seen Lagardère consider a float of its holding on the Paris stock exchange and also sue Vivendi for €1.6B earlier this year in a dispute over a cash-management agreement. The parties have been in mediation for months and said today’s sale agreement “puts an end to all disputes between the two groups related to this participation.” Vivendi is in the process of exploring a split into two separate companies. The Universal Music Group owner would create a new international media group with interests in music, film, pay-TV and online as one business, and mobile phone operator SFR as the other. Canal Plus France, which traditionally makes its money from sports and movies, has been locked in a costly battle with Al Jazeera-backed BeIN Sport over soccer and other rights since the latter entered the fray in 2012. The deal, however, allows Vivendi to shed a minority shareholder with whom its had a bumpy ride and at a time when it is looking to restructure. The Lagardère and Canal Plus Groups will continue to pursue cooperation in program production and the publishing and distribution of television channels, the companies said today.
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