Canal Plus future in further doubt as Messier goes

CANAL PLUS is coming to the end of its pay-per-view deal with Formula One Management and the chances of the deal being extended are relatively small as the entire operation has not been a success and has cost Canal Plus a considerable amount of money. To some extent Canal plus has, until recently, been protected by Jean-Marie Messier, the boss of the company's parent Vivendi Universal.

Messier has now left and Canal Plus's future is less clear than ever with the possibility of the company being taken over by an American chief executive who will not have the same protective feelings towards the struggling French TV station. Messier asked the board to appoint a French chief executive and the favorite for the job in Jean-Rene Fourtou, the deputy head of drugs firm Aventis but there are others in the frame.

Messier was the man responsible for turning the old water company Generale des Eaux into a global media company with interests in TV, films and the music industry. Unfortunately this left the company with a huge debt and his departure comes as a result of a 60% drop in Vivendi's share price in the last six months.

It is possible that Canal Plus will now be sold off.

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