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Confusion over sale of i>Télé

French press reports over the weekend suggest that Vivendi is looking to sell its i>Télé free-to-air news channel. The channel provides 24/7 national and global news and is the second-most watched news channel (after BFM-TV) and ahead of LCI.

The reports are firmly denied by Canal Plus Group.

The rumours suggest that Vivendi is looking to sell i>Télé for as much as €200 million, and that potential acquirers could include Patrick Drahi and the trio Niel-Pigasse-Berge. However, the reports also suggest that the Niel group would not be prepared to pay €200 million.

The channel is available on satellite and digital terrestrial TV, as well as on free-to-view Fransat, cable and IPTV.

Analysts at Exane/BNP-Paribas say a sale would be well-received by the market, even at a lower price because this would remove another potential loss-making problem and demonstrate Vivendi’s commitment to improve profitability at Canal Plus Group.

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