France’s leading pay-TV group Canal Plus is digging deeper into Poland via a partnership with local media groups ITI and TVN to create a new pay-TV platform. Outside France, Canal has long been active in Poland and also reaches subscribers in French-speaking Africa and Vietnam for a total of 12.7 million subs worldwide. The new deal gives Canal the option of taking a larger stake in the new entity down the line.

Paris, Luxembourg, Warsaw (December 19, 2011) – CANAL+ Group, ITI Group and TVN Group today announced the entry into a strategic partnership to combine their Polish pay-TV businesses and for Canal+ Group to become a key shareholder in TVN.

This combination of Cyfra+ and TVN’s ‘n’ creates a leading direct-to-home (DTH) platform with an expected combined base of 2.5 million post-paid customers by the end of 2011. Canal+ Group will own 51% of the share capital of the newly-created pay-TV Company, with TVN Group and UPC owning 32% and 17% respectively.

The new combined digital platform will be managed jointly by Markus Tellenbach (CEO) and Beata Monka (deputy CEO).

The new entity will give rise to significant economies of scale and efficiency enhancements. It will create a premium entertainment experience for customers with exclusive content and the latest technology, including the broadest High-Definition offering in the Polish market.

The newly-created pay-TV Company will also cooperate with TVN around content development and production. The partnership will be further strengthened by Canal+ Group becoming a key shareholder in Polish media group TVN alongside ITI.

This combination is expected to generate synergies in excess of PLN 250 million in year 3 of operations, mainly driven by revenue growth and cost optimization. By the end of 2015, the newly-created pay-TV company is expected to reach more than 3 million customers and an EBITDA in excess of PLN 550 million.

Bertrand Meheut, CEO of Canal+ Group: “We are extremely proud to announce the creation under Canal+ Group’s leadership of a leading pay-TV platform, backed by a strong partnership with Poland’s most prominent media Group, TVN. This is a major step in the evolution of CANAL+ Group. It further internationalises our business, strengthens our strategic position in Poland and reinvigorates our growth profile.”

Bruno Valsangiacomo, Executive Chairman and a Founding Shareholder of ITI Group: “We have conducted our negotiations with a true spirit of cooperation and I am convinced that we have taken the right decision to partner with Canal+ Group, thereby creating additional long-term value for all stakeholders in both ITI Group and TVN. This strategic partnership is not only based around a strong business rationale by combining our respective Polish pay-TV operations, but is also a logical strategic step for the ITI Group to secure continuity in the leadership of our business and meeting the demands of the Polish consumers and advertisers as well as the challenges of new technologies.”

Markus Tellenbach, CEO of TVN: “This merger lays the foundation for future growth and enormous value creation. Together with Canal+ Group we open a new chapter for our shareholders and I look forward to creating the best-in-class management team that will successfully drive the new merged company to a leading position in the highly competitive Polish media landscape.”

Beata Monka, CEO of Cyfra+ said: “We are very excited at the prospect of bringing together Cyfra+ and “n”. Both platforms show very complementary competencies, in terms of content, marketing and technological know-how. This will benefit customers by making their choice simpler in one of the most competitive pay-TV markets in Europe.”

Canal+ Group will contribute its interest in Cyfra+ to become the controlling shareholder of the newly-created pay-TV platform and pay a total cash consideration of around €230 million for a 40% minority stake in N-Vision, the parent Company of Polish Television Holding, which in turn owns a 51% majority stake in TVN. ITI Group will continue to own the remaining 60% controlling stake in N-Vision.