French pay-TV giant Canal+ Group said late Monday that it is acquiring M7, an independent pay-TV company with operations in Benelux and Central Europe, for a purchase price of slightly over 1B euros ($1.12B). This is the largest overseas deal that Canal has done in about two decades and comes as the group faces increasing pressure from rival Netflix.
M7 will give Canal access to markets where it is not currently present, and provide a pipeline to exploit its original productions and its vast 6,000-title film library. M7 is an aggregator and distributor of local and international channels via satellite and OTT platforms, but does not produce its own IP. Each year, Canal invests more than 3B euros into content production, and via Studiocanal is a major player in European films and series with a presence in the UK, Germany, Spain and Scandinavia.
M7 has a presence in the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania where it has a total of 3M subscribers. The acquisition will lift Canal’s subscribers to about 20M worldwide.
With turnover of more than 400M euros, M7 currently distributes major national channels as well as leading international labels, including Disney Channel, HBO, Eurosport, National Geographic and Nickelodeon.
Maxime Saada, Chairman of the Canal+ Group Executive Board, said, “This major operation will allow us to strengthen our distribution capacity in order to leverage content originating from our library and our numerous production operations in Europe.”
Saada further told Le Figaro that the acquisition of M7 is not a substitute for the group, and its parent Vivendi, to create a so-called Southern European Netflix. While the process has taken longer than planned, the “determination remains the same.”
M7 is owned by private equity firm Astorg and the deal is subject to European Commission approval.