Vivendi to buy Lagardere's 20% stake in Canal+ France for $1.41 bn

canalFrench multinational mass media and telecommunication company Vivendi S A yesterday reached a deal to buy out its partner Lagardere's 20-per cent stake in pay-television operator Canal+ France, for €1.02 billion ($1.41 billion).

The agreement ended a longstanding legal dispute between the two French media groups over the pay-television channel.

"This agreement, which will be submitted for information to the appropriate works councils, puts an end to all disputes between the two groups related to this participation," the companies said in a joint statement.

Lagardère filed a law suit against Vivendi in February claiming €1.6 billion from Canal Plus France's parent Canal Plus Group, wholly owned by Vivendi.

Lagardère alleged that Vivendi used the entire cash surplus from Canal Plus France under a previous agreement that was challenged by Lagardère.

Vivendi filed a countersuit and  threatened to sue Lagardere for abusing legal process and sought damages.

In 2011, Lagardere turned down  Vivendi offer to buy its stake, but instead said that it would prefer to sell its stake through an initial public offering after failing to agree on its valuation.

Vivendi, based in Paris, is currently restructuring itself in order to boost its market valuation.

The company has been under pressure from activist investor Vincent Bollore to restructure by spinning off its entertainment holdings, which included Activision Blizzard and Canal Plus.

Early this year it sold its stake in video-game maker Activision Blizzard for €6.2 billion (See: Activision Blizzard buys back stake from Vivendi in $8.17-bn deal) and is in exclusive talks to sell its majority stake in Maroc Telecom SA for €4.2 billion.

It is also planning to spin off  its SFR French mobile-phone division and is also in the process of seeking a buyer for its Brazilian telecom unit GVT.