The Canal+ Group and the Lagardère Group announced that they have signed an agreement to unwind their cross-shareholdings in MultiThématiques, which will henceforth be 100% owned by the Canal+ Group, and in Lagardère Thématiques, which will henceforth be virtually wholly owned by the Lagardère Group.
This agreement, which is subject to scrutiny by the French anti-trust authorities, is a direct consequence of the Conseil d’Etat ruling of October 20, 2004, which cancelled the TNT (Digital Terrestrial Television) licenses of 6 channels on the grounds that they were jointly controlled within Lagardère Thématiques. The two groups intend that by entering into this agreement, they will ensure that they are in the best possible position for the forthcoming TNT frequency bidding process to be launched by the CSA, the French broadcasting regulator.
The Canal+ Group and the Lagardère Group are continuing with their business partnership within CanalSatellite, which in 2004 confirmed its position as French no.1 in satellite TV packages, with a portfolio of over 2.9 million subscribers.
At present, following the purchase last September of the shares previously held by Partcom, MultiThématiques is 70% owned by the Canal+ Group and 30% owned by the Lagardère Group. It operates the theme channels Cinécinéma (6 movie channels and a movie news channel), Planète (4 channels), Jimmy, Seasons, Comédie! and Cuisine TV.
Lagardère Thématiques is currently 51% owned by the Lagardère Group via Lagardère Images (65% Lagardère Active Broadcast/35% Partcom) and 49% owned by the Canal+ Group.