Canal + acquires the M7 channel distributor for more than one billion euros.
Canal + is a sensation. The Pay TV group signed on Monday its “largest international acquisition project”, with the acquisition of M7, a distributor of channels based in Luxembourg for a “slightly greater” amount to 1 billion euros. Canal + announced in a statement that it has signed an agreement to buy M7 from the European investment fund Astorg. The group hopes to reach 20 million subscribers worldwide thanks to this pay-TV operator (3 million subscribers) which distributes channels such as Disney Channel, HBO, Eurosport or National Geographic in Benelux and Central Europe.
“We are very proud to announce the largest acquisition project of the Canal + group internationally,” tweeted Maxime Saada, head of Canal +. “The acquisition price would be slightly higher than 1 billion euros for a turnover of more than 400 million euros and a relative profitability (which increases earnings per share, ed) for the group Canal + and Vivendi” the statement said, adding that the operation is subject to approval by the European Commission. Based in Luxembourg, M7 aggregates and distributes local and international channels, via satellite and OTT platforms (online services), in Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania
For Canal +, this acquisition represents an opportunity for international development – by setting up in 7 new European countries – while the chain is experiencing an erosion of its subscriber base in France. Internationally, the group claims to have developed “a significant presence in territories with high growth potential” in Asia but especially in Africa, where it has 4.1 million subscribers, according to its website. The group is also one of the leading pay-TV companies in Poland with nearly 2.2 million subscribers.
In 2018, the group had 300,000 fewer individual subscribers in metropolitan France than in 2017, according to the annual results published by its parent company Vivendi in February. That’s down 4.4% to 4.73 million. “I am delighted with this agreement,” said Jacques du Puy, president of Canal + International. “It would combine the talents of the management teams of Canal + and M7, (…) Our activities would extend over 40 countries around 3 centers of gravity in Europe, Africa and Asia”, if the agreement arrives in good port.
The transaction is expected to close in September 2019, said a joint statement from M7 and the Astorg fund. The general investment fund Astorg had taken a majority stake in M7 in 2014. “We come to almost 5 years of detention and the company has developed well,” assured the AFP Charles-Hubert Le Baron, Associate Director at Astorg.
“There has been strong support for all M7 acquisition projects, the most recent being the resumption of UPC Direct’s operations in Eastern Europe, where subscriber bases were bought in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary. and in Romania, and there has been a strong push for OTT offers, which corresponds to access to content via the internet, especially on mobiles, “he added.
According to him, the turnover of M7 has increased in five years from about 300 million euros to more than 400 million euros currently, which is the result of “both organic growth and acquisitions” . The group also developed well “from a profitability point of view”, according to Mr. Le Baron, without providing further details.
“This growth has allowed us to completely change the profile of society from satellite technology, which can be seen as old, to the future, which is more like OTT and the combination of the two,” he said. -he rocks.
“M7 also operates a provider of Internet access and telephony in the Netherlands, Online.nl” and “is one of the leading pay-TV satellite operators DTH in the Benelux as well as in the Czech Republic and Slovakia” , added the press release.