Reports surfaced over the weekend that Vivendi Universal may be planning to
sell its Canal+ Technologies S.A. unit.
Dow Jones Newswires has reported that possible buyers for the unit include
Liberate Technologies, Kudelski Group and Thomson Multimedia. Thomson already
owns 3 percent of Canal+ Technologies.
Dow Jones noted that the unit might bring 500 million euros ($471.8 million),
and it would help Vivendi to reduce its massive debt load.
Canal+ S.A. and various potential buyers declined to comment on the report.
Canal+ tried to float the technology division in 2000, but poor market
conditions forced the company to withdraw the offering.
Over the weekend, however, Canal+ chairman Xavier Couture gave no hint that
the company planned to sell off its tech unit during an interview with French
newspaper Le Figaro.
Couture stressed that the company's recent moves to sell or merge some of its
pay TV assets in Europe do not represent a withdrawal from the pay TV business.
Rather, he claimed, Canal+ wants to invest in more profitable activities, such
as content and technology.
'For Canal+, the decoder is the main distribution element,' Couture told
Le Figaro. 'It's thanks to this technology that we have developed a
special relationship with subscribers.'
He added that a new decoder will be launched at the end of the