Vivendi SA Chairman Vincent Bollore will step down as the head of the French media company’s Canal Plus television unit, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Bollore will relinquish the title of Canal Plus chairman this summer, said the person, who asked not to be named because the move hasn’t been announced. Bollore became chairman of the unit, one of Europe’s biggest pay-TV networks and a major producer of films and television shows, nine months ago.
Bollore, a billionaire activist investor who took the helm at Vivendi in 2014, is stepping back from the Canal Plus role as the pay-TV unit undergoes a turnaround. An earlier plan to boost the network with exclusive sports was blocked by French regulators, raising the stakes for entertainment developed in-house.
Bollore’s son Yannick plans to join the Canal Plus board as early as this summer, and by the end of 2017 at the latest, according to Le Figaro, which reported the moves earlier without saying where it got the information. Vivendi’s deputy CEO, Arnaud de Puyfontaine, may replace the elder Bollore as Canal Plus chairman, the newspaper said.
A Vivendi official declined to comment.
Vivendi’s plan to revive the pay-TV business in its main market in France was thwarted earlier this month, when the country’s antitrust regulator blocked a plan to add exclusive sports coverage from Qatari sports channel BeIn. Canal Plus has lost 500,000 subscribers in five years.
The company said then that it would have to work on “alternative solutions” to stop the losses at its French channels. Vivendi has said that Canal Plus’s operating loss may widen to more than 400 million euros this year in France after a deficit of 264 million euros in 2015.
Bollore told a Senate hearing this week that the Canal Plus recovery plan is in place and that it should show visible results quickly.