Vivendi’s Canal Plus Faces Competition Probe Over Bollore Assets

Canal Plus, Vivendi SA (VIV)’s pay- television unit, faces an investigation by France’s competition authority over the purchase of Bollore Group’s television assets, including the Direct 8 and Direct Star channels.

The deal, which would allow Canal Plus to extend its presence into free television, raises “serious doubts” over market competition and “requires that an in-depth probe be opened,” the authority said in a statement on its website.

Such investigations normally last for 65 days, though they can be extended, according to the statement.

Canal Plus spokeswoman Laurence Gallot wasn’t immediately available to comment on the statement. The pay-tv company said in September it had agreed to buy 60 percent of Bollore (BOL)’s television assets using Vivendi shares, valuing the assets at a maximum of 465 million euros ($611 million).

To contact the reporter on this story: Marie Mawad in Paris at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at

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