• Billionaire investor and Chairman Bollore reinforces his grip
  • Bollore Group's Thiery to head Canal Plus management board

Vivendi SA Chairman Vincent Bollore is tightening his grip on the company by reshuffling management at pay-television unit Canal Plus as the billionaire investor prepares it for a revamp.

Jean-Christophe Thiery, an executive who has worked for Bollore’s family company Bollore Group for 14 years, becomes head of the Canal Plus management board, Vivendi said in a statement on Thursday. He replaces Bertrand Meheut, who has held the role for more than a decade and extensively restructured the pay-TV business.

Bollore will also become more involved at Canal Plus himself, as he’ll be the chairman of its supervisory board. The businessman had already started to make his presence felt in recent months by attending operational meetings at Canal Plus and telling employees he’d make important changes at the division, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be named discussing internal talks.

Under Bollore, Vivendi has sold assets and is rebuilding the remaining businesses around music and video. After buying and selling telecommunications stakes from Italy to Brazil, the 63-year-old Frenchman is now turning his attention to Canal Plus as he aims to transform the pay-TV unit into an international content production and distribution powerhouse. 

Vivendi on Wednesday reported higher second-quarter revenue, helped by its music unit. Canal Plus, the biggest contributor to the media company’s profit, reported a decline in earnings as it spent more on sports broadcasting rights.

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