Orange plans to sell its OCS television subsidiary and its film studio to Canal+, negotiations having accelerated in this direction, a source familiar with the matter said on Friday, confirming information from Les Echos.
Contacted by AFP, neither the telecom operator nor the encrypted channel wished to comment.
Orange management “warned the employees of OCS and Orange Studio on Thursday that negotiations with Canal+ were accelerating”, relate Les Echos, judging “possible that a transaction will be announced in a few days” at the end of discussions launched “almost two years ago”.
Canal+ is the main distributor of the pay channel package OCS (nearly 3 million subscribers), and holds a 34% stake which gives it a right of first refusal.
The encrypted channel is also the favorite candidate for the takeover of the Orange film studio, “which controls a catalog of films which could well marry that of StudioCanal, a subsidiary of Canal +”, owned by the Vivendi group.
OCS, which enjoys a partnership with HBO (“Game of thrones”, “House of the Dragons”) until 2023, has already accumulated between “400 million and 500 million euros in losses since its launch” in 2008 , according to the economic daily.
However, the package, offered alone from 11 euros per month, could lose its main loss leader, HBO content should a priori join the future streaming platform to be launched in France by Warner Bros Discovery, parent company of the brand and another potential buyer of OCS.
By selling its subsidiary to Canal+, Orange would like to “perpetuate the payment of OCS cinema financing obligations, but above all the channels and OCS jobs”, while strengthening a French player against American giants like Netflix, specifies Les Echoes.
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