Vivendi says it will fight a €1.6 billion claim filed with the Paris Commercial Court by Lagardère Holding TV, a subsidiary of Lagardère and a 20 per cent shareholder of Canal+ France.
Lagardère claims that the cash management agreement concluded between Canal+ France and its parent company Canal+ Group, a 100 per cent subsidiary of Vivendi, is null and void because it is a related party agreement that was not previously approved by the Supervisory Board. Lagardère is, therefore, demanding restitution from Canal+ Group of the entire cash surplus that Canal+ France has given over under the agreement – an amount of €1,603,872,436.
In a statement, Vivendi formally denied the allegations of the Lagardère as to the nature of the cash agreement, which is said is ‘an ordinary course of business’ agreement under normal conditions, and which does not require prior approval from the Supervisory Board of Canal+ France.
Vivendi further stated it is even more surprised by this claim since Lagardère TV Holding expressly approved this agreement during the creation of Canal+ France in 2007. Lagardère has never, until now, challenged this when under renewal by tacit agreement Vivendi claimed. In addition, the statutory auditors of Canal+ France have considered from the outset that the cash management agreement is not a regulated agreement.
The Group summarised that it considers this is an attempt by the Lagardère Group to destabilise Vivendi and force it to buy back the former’s stake in Canal+ France.