TV4 and Telenor have agreed a co-ownership agreement for C More Entertainment, the operating company that runs Canal+ in the Nordic region. Telenor will acquire 35% of C More through a share purchase scheme and a new share issue. The Norwegian distributor and media concern will pay SEK 787 million (€81.70m) to its Swedish compatriot.
Just as significant is the pooling of sports rights, including the SAS Ligaen and FIFA World Cup 2010 in Denmark, which have been sublicensed to C More. The pay-TV channel has recently been dealt a blow by the loss of the rights to the English Premier League, which have fallen to TV2 Norway and Viasat in Sweden.
“We are very pleased to present this deal. Telenor and TV4 Group complement each other well and, together, we are a perfect match to develop Canal+ further,” said Erik Nord, CEO of Telenor Media and Content Services.
TV4 purchased C More in December 2008 from ProSiebenSat.1/SBS for SEK 3 billion (€290 million). Rival bids included an interest from Telenor.
Canal+ is now planning a series of new channels, Spanish La Liga, Italian Serie A, Major League Soccer and the NBA going some way towards compensating for the loss of the Premier League. Rights to the Swedish football league and premier league ice hockey will boost the channel’s appeal in Sweden. The launch of new TV channels in Norway and Denmark is also planned.
“Canal+ has developed very well since we acquired the company in 2008, and reported its best ever results last year. We are now creating even better opportunities for Canal+ to maintain its position as the Nordic region’s leading TV channel in the premium segment, and are also enlarging our offer,” said Jan Scherman, CEO of the TV4 Group.
In 2009, C More Entertainment reported revenues of SEK 1.6 billion and EBITDA of SEK 111 million before restructuring costs. Both groups have stressed that they intend to remain platform neutral.