French sports newspaper L’Equipe is reporting that Canal Plus has lost its TV rights to air English Premier League football matches. The rights have been picked up, says the report, by multinational telco and cable operator Altice.
L’Equipe says Altice’s new rights kick in from the autumn of 2016, and will run for 3 years. Canal Plus paid €63 million annually for its rights.
A flash report to investors from equity analyst Charles Bedouelle at Exane/BNP-Paribas says that the news is a negative for Canal, and Vivendi, although he adds that a more likely bidder would have been BeIN Sports.
The analyst says that while Canal would now “save” the €63 million obligation but it will further exacerbate the pressures on Canal Plus as far as holding onto its existing core subscriber base. “Canal has now about two-thirds of the French premier league, the best but not all champions league rights and NONE of the attractive European championships,” adds Bedouelle.
“Altice most likely paid a MUCH higher price than the current €63m pa. As a reminder, rights acquired by BeIN or kept by Canal have been renegotiated at 60%+ higher price. This could also mean that the reinvestments promised by Vivendi Chairman (“Le Monde, Nov 13th”) to its employee – which includes sport rights – will be more difficult / costly.”
As an aside, Bedouelle asks whether the deal – if confirmed – means that Altice will become more aggressive in content? “The group certainly has great media ambitions,” says Bedouelle.