In a move that will see it expand into seven new European countries, the Canal+ Group is to acquire pay-TV operator M7 for a purchase price of just over €1 billion. M7, one of the largest independent pay-TV companies in Europe operating in Benelux and Central Europe, is owned by Astorg, a leading European private equity firm. This acquisition is subject to the European Commission’s approval.
M7 is an aggregator and distributor of local and international channels via satellite and OTT platforms. It has developed a presence in the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania where it has a total of 3 million subscribers, of which 0.8 million take a basic access package.
M7 would bring an additional distribution platform for the content produced by Canal+ Group, which invests more than €3 billion annually in content production. The Group has successfully invested in original programming (Création Originale) by developing a collection of internationally-recognised series. Via STUDIOCANAL, the Group is a major player in the production of European films and series with a presence in the UK, Germany, Spain and Scandinavia. It also owns one of the largest film libraries in the world with 6,000 international titles.
Operating under different brands, M7 with a turnover of more than €400 million and a profitability accretive to Canal+ Group and Vivendi, distributes major national channels as well as leading international brands, including Disney Channel, HBO, Eurosport, National Geographic, and Nickelodeon.
This development will allow Canal+ Group, which already has subscribers in France, Switzerland and Poland, to expand into additional European territories representing 36 million households for a total population of nearly 90 million.
After closing the deal, Canal+ Group would total nearly 20 million subscribers worldwide, including 12 million in Europe.
“We are particularly pleased with this acquisition project made possible by Vivendi,” commented Maxime Saada, Chairman of the Canal+ Group Executive Board. “The deal would allow Canal+ Group to approach 20 million subscribers worldwide. Our global subscriber base will have almost doubled in five years, with a clear acceleration starting in 2015. This major deal will allow us to strengthen our distribution capacity in order to leverage content originating from our library and our numerous production operations in Europe.”
“Thanks to the dynamism of its shareholder Astorg and its management team, M7 has become one of the leading independent pay-TV operators in Europe,” added Jacques du Puy, CEO of Canal+ International. “I am very pleased with this agreement. It will enable us to combine the talents of the managerial teams of Canal+ and M7, both of high quality and very committed to accelerating our international growth. Our activities will span a total of 40 countries around three bases in Europe, Africa and Asia.”