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Canal Plus & Tandem’s London-Set Drama Series ‘Spotless’ Casts Up

Canal Plus & Tandem’s London-Set Drama Series ‘Spotless’ Casts UpEXCLUSIVE: Canal Plus and Tandem Communications‘ 10-episode one-hour crime drama Spotless starts principal photography July 2 in London. Co-created by Shameless UK producer and writer Ed McCardie, and Corinne Marrinan (CSI, Crossing Lines), the series was announced at Mip-TV in April and has now set its main cast. Canadian actor Marc-André Grondin (C.R.A.Z.Y) and France’s Denis Ménochet (Inglourious Basterds) lead the coyle-brendandrama with British actress Miranda Raison (24: Live Another Day) and Downton Abbey’s Mr Bates, Brendan Coyle, also in the mix. Billed as a darkly humorous and irreverent family drama, the London-set story follows a troubled man whose tidy life is turned upside down when his outlaw brother crash lands into his world, and gets both of them involved in the deadly dynamics of organized crime as their dysfunctional family struggles to gain control over life, business and shared destiny.
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MIPTV: Canal Plus Greenlights ‘Spotless’ Drama From ‘Shameless’ & ‘CSI’ Vets

TC-Spotless-FINAL-A4Canal Plus has given an 10-episode order to one-hour crime drama Spotless. Co-created by Shameless UK producer and writer Ed McCardie and Corinne Marrinan (CSI, Crossing Lines), the series is produced by Studiocanal’s Tandem Communications in association with Rosetta Media for Canal+ Original Programming. The London-set drama is billed as irreverant, sexy and dangerous. It’s the story of a troubled man whose tidy life is turned upside down when his outlaw brother crash lands into his world, and gets both of them involved in the deadly dynamics of organized crime as their dysfunctional family struggles to gain control over life, business and shared destiny. Principal photography is targeted to begin this summer in London. The first two episodes will be directed by Pascal Chaumeil (Heartbreaker) and casting is underway.

mip tv logo 2McCardie is head writer and Marrinan is writer and co-executive producer. Executive producers include Tandem’s Rola Bauer, Jonas Bauer and Suzanne Berger, who first brought the project to Tandem. Producing for Tandem is Moritz Polter. Spotless is produced by Hugh Warren, most recently producer of the UK drama series, Call The Midwife.

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Global Showbiz Briefs: Gemma Arterton Treads Boards In ‘Made In Dagenham’; Dave Heuten Joins FremantleMedia’s Belgium Arm; More

Gemma Arterton Coming To West End With ‘Made In Dagenham’
Gemma ArtertonFormer Bond girl Gemma Arterton is set to star in a West End musical version of 2010 film Made In Dagenham. She’ll play Rita O’Grady, a role originated by Sally Hawkins in the Nigel Cole-directed movie. The show is a musical comedy about women who battled for equal rights at a Ford factory in Essex, England, in 1968. The BBC reports that Richard Bean, who wrote One Man, Two Guvnors, is penning the script for the show, which opens November 5 at the Adelphi Theater. Rupert Goold (Enron, American Psycho) is directing. Arterton recently starred onstage in The Duchess Of Malfi. Read More »

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French Presidential Scandal Spills Over To Local Oscars: Have The César Awards Suddenly Become A Must-Watch?

quai-d-orsay-afficheThis morning’s César Award nominations set Twitter and the media ablaze in France, but not for the usual who’s in/who’s out debate. The reason for today’s increased gusto was that listed amongst the noms for the Césars, the local equivalent to the Oscars, is a supporting turn for Julie Gayet in Bertrand Tavernier’s political satire Quai D’Orsay. The accomplished actress and producer has famously been linked to an alleged affair with France’s president, François Hollande, since earlier this year. That alone, it’s been suggested, could give Canal Plus its best-ever ratings for the César ceremony when the kudofest airs February 28. Last year’s César ceremony drew 2.58M viewers, one of Canal’s top three scores since it started broadcasting the show in 1994. But let’s be honest, the Césars are usually a snoozefest, and even sometimes an embarrassment. I’ve been attending or following the show for more than 15 years and there have been plenty of groan-worthy moments including fumbling attempts to “Oscarize” the proceedings with the host being inserted into clips of the nominated films à la Billy Crystal. One French exec I spoke with today said of Gayet’s nomination, “Well in that case, I’ll definitely watch!”

julie gayetHere’s some background on why: The French are soaking up a sort of delicious ironie of Gayet picking up her first ever César nomination for a role in a politically themed movie set inside the Foreign Affairs Ministry (see the trailer here). What’s more, as France’s Premiere magazine pointed out this morning and, as Twitter keeps tweeting, her character’s name is Valérie — the first name of President Hollande’s longtime companion, Valérie Trierweiler, who moved into the Elysée Palace with him post-election and from whom he has now split. Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: Colombia Orders 60 Episodes Of ‘ER’; ‘Tbilisi, I Love You’ Hits Georgia Theaters In February; More

Colombia Paging ‘ER’ With 60-Episode Order
ER is going Latino. Warner Bros International Television Production today announced the first Latin American format deal for the seminal medical series. RCN, Fox International er-original-cast-460x250Channels and TC have commissioned a local-language version for Colombia with a 60-episode order. Colombia’s Resonant is producing for air this spring. Originally produced in the U.S. by Constant c Productions and Amblin Television in association with Warner Bros Television, the series premiered on NBC in 1994 and ran for 15 seasons. It is the most Emmy-nominated series in history with 124 and notably helped kickstart the careers of George Clooney and Julianna Margulies. “Even though ER is a fundamental American series, its characters and situations are so strong, moving and universal that will surely find a place in the hearts of Latin American audiences,” said Fernando Gaitan, RCN’s VP Content and Production. “We are eager to have it on our screen.”

‘Tbilisi, I Love You’ Opening Next Month In Georgia
Tbilisi, I Love You, part of Emmanuel Benbihy’s Cities Of Love franchise that started with Paris Je T’Aime and New York, I Love You, has set a February 20 release date in Georgia. The movie is a series of 10 short films that are written and directed by natives of Georgia and take on a personal narrative about the republic’s capital city. Malcolm McDowell and Ron Perlman both feature. McDowell’s vignette centers on an actor who reluctantly agrees to a one-month shoot in Tbilisi and develops a love affair with the city. Perlman’s short sees him as a nameless American motorcyclist who rides through Tbilisi’s remote areas with a woman named Freedom. Tbilisi, I Love You is produced by Storyman Pictures David and Nika Agiashvili. Credo Cinema’s Jason Speer, Ever So Close’s Benbihy, as well as Paata Trapaidze are exec producers. A festival schedule is being determined. In the meantime, here’s a trailer:

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Cannes: Former Canal Plus Chief Pierre Lescure Will Be Festival’s Next President

Pierre Lescure publie son autobiographie chez Grasset Crédit : Bertini/GrassetPierre Lescure is back. After weeks of speculation, the former Canal Plus chief has been officially named to succeed Gilles Jacob as president of the Cannes Film Festival. Announcing the news, French Culture Minister Aurélie Filippetti congratulated Lescure on her Twitter account today with a “Bravo.” Lescure will take over from Jacob who is stepping down after the 2014 fest. The role of the president is largely to represent the festival and comes with some administrative power. Industry insiders believe Lescure is very complementary to Cannes executive and general delegate Thierry Frémaux who is responsible for the artistic content of the festival — he chooses all the movies in the Official Selection — and also has other managerial responsibilities. A major producer told me this week, “If they do it right, they would be a really great tandem.”

cannesLescure is a very popular choice with deep ties to the French and global industries, both in film and television. He was a co-founder of Canal Plus in 1984 and ran the pay-TV group as its highly-regarded president from 1994. (Full disclosure: I co-hosted a film review/talk show on a Canal Plus-owned channel in 2000/01.) Lescure’s tenure at Canal saw the creation of Studiocanal, whose execs and founders included Vincent Grimond, Vincent Maraval, … Read More »

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EU Antitrust Body To Scrutinize U.S. Studio Deals With Major European Pay-TV Groups

euro union flagThe European Commission has opened formal antitrust proceedings to examine certain provisions in licensing agreements between several major U.S. film studios and Europe’s biggest pay-TV groups. The EC said today that it’s looking into whether certain deal clauses covering satellite and online streaming transmissions prevent broadcasters from providing their services across Eurpean Union borders. The studios mentioned in an EC press release today include 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros, Sony, NBCUniversal and Paramount. The broadcasters in question include BSkyB, Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland (Fox has controlling stakes in each), France’s Canal Plus and Spain’s DTS.

hollywood-signIn essence, the Commission is looking at whether the practice of selling film rights for one country at a time infringes on EU antitrust rules that prohibit anticompetitive agreements. The Commission says that deals between the studios and the broadcasters grant the latter “absolute territorial protection” and mean that films cannot be made available outside that member state, even in response to requests from potential subscribers in another EU country. According to the Associated Press, EC antitrust chief Joaquin Almunia told reporters today in Brussles that the question is whether a subscriber to, say, a German pay-TV channel should be able to stream content online while in another EU country. “Or if you live in Belgium … Read More »

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Vivendi Agrees To Pay $1.4B For Lagardère Stake In Canal Plus France

By | Monday October 28, 2013 @ 1:34pm PDT

It’s a big day for $1B+ overseas TV deals. French conglomerate Vivendi has agreed to pay €1.02B ($1.4B) in cash for media group Lagardère’s 20% holding in Canal Plus France. This will give Vivendi a 100% stake in the French pay-TV unit, which falls under the Canal Plus Group, of which Vivendi already holds 100%. The agreement follows years of back-and-forth that has seen Lagardère consider a float of its holding on the Paris stock exchange and also sue Vivendi for €1.6B earlier this year in a dispute over a cash-management agreement. The parties have been in mediation for months and said today’s sale agreement “puts an end to all disputes between the two groups related to this participation.” Vivendi is in the process of exploring a split into two separate companies. The Universal Music Group owner would create a new international media group with interests in music, film, pay-TV and online as one business, and mobile phone operator SFR as the other. Canal Plus France, which traditionally makes its money from sports and movies, has been locked in a costly battle with Al Jazeera-backed BeIN Sport over soccer and other rights since the latter entered the fray in 2012. The deal, however, allows Vivendi to shed a minority shareholder with whom its had a bumpy ride and at a time when … Read More »

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Canal Plus, Dailymotion Team To Launch Canal+ Canada VOD Platform

By | Wednesday October 16, 2013 @ 8:12am PDT

Leading French pay-TV operator Canal Plus is planting its first flag in Canada under this new deal with Dailymotion, Europe’s answer to YouTube. Canal+ Canada will launch in November as a VOD platform carrying original programming plus movies, TV series (including Les Revenants and The Tunnel), and documentaries. Sports for the moment are not part of the package. The service will be accessible in all of Canada, but the content will be delivered in French. Unlimited access to Canal+ Canada will be available via a monthly $7.99 subscription. There’s also an à la carte option. As with the Canal Plus flagship channel in France, the online Canadian outlet will air its news and entertainment shows unencrypted. Those include daily programs Les Guignols, Le Petit Journal and Le Grand Journal (for regulars of the Cannes Film Festival, that’s the one that broadcasts from the Croisette throughout the event).

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Hit French Series ‘The Returned’ Gets Book Deal With Pan Macmillan

By | Wednesday October 16, 2013 @ 3:06am PDT

First it was a somewhat obscure 2004 movie that sold 32,000 tickets in France, then it became a French TV show that sold around the world and is being adapted into a U.S. series. Now, it’s getting the novelization treatment. Pan Macmillan has acquired worldwide publishing rights to The Returned (Les Revenants/Rebound) in a six-figure deal. Author Seth Patrick will develop two books based on storylines from the show’s first two seasons, although Season 2 won’t film until the second half of next year. Patrick wrote the supernatural horror/thriller trilogy Reviver, which was optioned by Legendary Entertainment. The first Returned novel will be published in the fall of 2014. A big hit on France’s Canal Plus, the series crossed the Channel to air in French with English subtitles in the UK and is also getting an original run in the U.S. on Sundance Channel – rare for a foreign-language program. A&E Network nabbed rights for an American remake to be developed as a co-production between A+E Studios and FremantleMedia North America. Deadline reported last month that Lost and Bates Motel‘s Carlton Cuse is in discussions about taking on the adaptation. The story focuses on a small town that is turned upside down when several local people who have been long presumed dead suddenly reappear, having not aged and unaware of their own fatality. Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: Amelia Pulsford Joins Sharp UK; CNBC’s ‘The Edge’ Looks For Tech’s Next Big Thing; More

By | Tuesday September 24, 2013 @ 10:00pm PDT

Amelia Pulsford Tapped As Director Of Content at Sharp UK
Amelia Pulsford has been named director of content for the newly formed London branch of Core Media‘s Sharp Entertainment. Reality producer Sharp, whose credits include Man V. Food, Extreme Couponing, Bad Ink and Doomsday Preppers, is launching Sharp UK to expand into the competitive European space. Pulsford previously worked for Sharp Entertainment in the U.S. as a producer on Fortune Diggers and Punkin Chunkin, among others. She has also been a producer on Bear Grylls: Escape From Hell and Car Vs. Wild for Discovery International. She will work closely with American Idol parent CORE Media’s UK-based international team.

CNBC’s ‘The Edge’ Focuses On Long-Term Tech Investments
CNBC is launching a new half-hour series looking at long-term investment opportunities created by today’s technological innovations. The Edge will be fronted by network reporters including Ross Westgate, Martin Song, Karen Tso and Carolin Roth, who will travel to various locales to find “the next big thing”. The monthly show debuts September 25 across CNBC in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia-Pacific and the U.S. It will be produced and edited from CNBC’s London regional HQ and be complemented by special reports on CNBC.com. Read More »

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Vivendi Mulls Split Of Media And Telecoms Businesses

By | Thursday September 12, 2013 @ 3:56am PDT

Taking a page from News Corp’s book, French conglomerate Vivendi is moving closer to splitting itself into two separate companies. Canal Plus and Universal Music Group owner Vivendi says it is launching a study to weigh a demerger that would create, on one side, a new international media group with interests in music, film, pay-TV and online. On the other side would be SFR, the mobile phone operator that Vivendi says would “gain greater freedom on strategy and developing partnerships.” A final decision on the split is expected early next year. The idea that Vivendi would break up its media and telecom assets has been floated before, but this is the first official indication. The company has long met with investor criticism over what’s known as the conglomerate discount – the difference between what a company’s holdings are worth and the real value the market places on the whole. Billionaire shareholder Vincent Bolloré told French financial daily Les Echos that the board was “unanimously agreed that there were no synergies between telecoms and content,” which was aggravating the share price. “I feel the split is an attractive plan, and it has my total support.” With a view to the new structure, Bolloré, who owns 5% of Vivendi, now becomes vice chairman of the supervisory board.

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Music Box Films Plans VOD/DVD Release Of French Supernatural Series ‘The Returned’

By | Monday September 9, 2013 @ 11:38am PDT

The Returned (Les Revenants) originally aired in France on Canal Plus last fall. Since then, the UK’s Channel 4 broadcast the first series, renamed Rebound, drawing an average 1.5 million viewers each week. A second season of eight episodes goes into production in France in early 2014. Zodiak is handling international and has sold all U.S. rights on the first season to Music Box Films for a VOD/DVD release in January. This will follow an as-yet undisclosed U.S. TV debut in October. Created by Fabrice Gobert and produced by Caroline Benjo, Jimmy Desmarais and Carole Scotta of Haut et Court, the show centers on a group of people in a small Alpine village who find themselves in a state of confusion, trying to return to their homes. What they don’t know is that they’ve been dead for several years, and no one is expecting them back. Anne Consigny, Clotilde Hesme, Celine Sallette, Frederic Pierrot, Samir Guesmi and Guillaume Gouix star. (Separately there is an English-language adaptation in the works, to which Shameless creator Paul Abbott was previously attached.) Music Box and Zodiak previously collaborated on the release of the film adaptations of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy and of Swedish series Wallander.

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French Investment Group Could Pay $91M For European Film Portal AlloCiné: Reports

By | Friday July 12, 2013 @ 5:27am PDT

In May, talks broke down between Yahoo and French online video site Dailymotion with France refusing to relinquish control of the successful start-up. Two months later, another key Internet company is poised to return to its Gallic roots. French investment group Fimalac has entered exclusive negotiations to acquire AlloCiné, the top film web portal in France, which greatly resembles MovieFone. The current owner is U.S. based Tiger Global Management. Fimalac chief Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière is understood to be willing to pay up to 70M euros ($91M) for the site which also operates local versions in such countries as Germany, Spain, the UK, Turkey and Brazil. AlloCiné was founded in 1993 as a phone service for movie showtimes. It became the first European cinema portal in 1997 and was owned for a time by Canal Plus. According to French media reports, the company has annual revenues of 19M euros. Fimalac has diversified interests including 50% of Fitch Ratings, Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: Murderous Coloring Book Yanked; China’s Pop Culture Snobs; Canal Plus Series Lineup Set; More

Coloring Book Based On Horror Movies Yanked In UK After Marketing Gaffe
UK retailer Tesco has pulled a horror-movie-themed coloring book from its website after it was mistakenly marketed to children ages 5 to 8. The book, Colour Me Good Arrggghhhh!! includes images from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, Clive Barker’s Hellraiser, Steven Spielberg’s Jaws and Adrian Lyne’s Fatal Attraction. According to the BBC, Tesco said the book had been placed in the wrong category when listed on its website by a third-party seller. Author, artist and publisher Mel Elliott said the book is indeed meant for an adult audience of “playful grown-ups.”

Brit TV Dramas Drive ‘Snobbish Pop-Cultural Hierarchy’ In China
British dramas such as Downton Abbey and Sherlock are big hits at home and abroad, but in China they’re also part of what the Wall Street Journal calls “an increasingly snobbish pop-cultural hierarchy.” Described by local media as a “disdain chain,” it works like this: British drama fans look down on folks who prefer U.S. shows, and they in turn look down on Korean soap fans. The lowest of the low in the disdain chain are fans of domestic dramas. The taste for high-end British fare like Downton and Sherlock is a growing phenomenon. Entgroup compiled levels of discussion on different social media sites to find that British dramas are catching on with the wealthy youth and account for upwards of 9% of foreign TV discussion. Also notable, more than half of those who follow British dramas on social media sites have at least a bachelor’s degree, Entgroup found. Hit Brit shows like Downton are expected to have 160M online followers in the next two to three years. Sohu.com, Youku Tudou and Tencent all have dedicated online channels for British dramas and the Journal says the latter two are competing to sign exclusive deals with distributors like BBC Worldwide and Fremantle Media to stream the shows. Read More »

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Cannes: Jail Term For Man Who Disrupted Canal Plus TV Show With Fake Gunshots

Nary a day went by at last month’s Cannes Film Festival without some sort of non-movie-related scandal erupting on the Croisette. Thieves who made off with millions in jewelry have yet to be apprehended, but a man now identified as Stéphane Cros has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for shooting blanks into the air during a live taping of Canal Plus‘ nightly news program Le Grand Journal. On May 17, Cros fired two shots from his perch in the audience of the show which broadcasts across from the Martinez Hotel throughout the festival. Daniel Auteuil and Christoph Waltz were being interviewed onstage at the time and were quickly evacuated. Cros was immediately immobilized by police after the incident. It’s now known that Cros purchased a replica Smith & Wesson the same day and was also carrying a fake grenade. In court on Monday, he read what was an incoherent statement, according to French daily Le Figaro, and then said he had wanted to get onto the Canal Plus set to “take myself hostage.” Ahead of the sentencing, the judge commented, “To use terror and violence as a way to impose one’s political ideals is the definition itself of terrorism. I’m not saying this was an act of terrorism, but intellectually the method is the same, only the degree of violence makes the difference.”

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Simon Mirren & David Wolstencroft To Write Canal Plus Drama Series ‘Versailles’

By | Monday June 24, 2013 @ 4:28pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: British TV writer-producers Simon Mirren and David Wolstencroft have come on board to rewrite Versailles, an English-language period drama series for French pay TV network Canal Plus. The duo will executive produce the 12-episode series, set at the Court of French King Louis XIV, alongside Anne Thomopoulos, who executive produces another European historical drama series, Borgia. On Versailles, co-produced by CAPA Drama and Zodiak’s Marathon, Mirren and Wolstencroft replace Mad Men‘s Andre and Maria Jacquemetton, who were signed for the project two years ago. Versailles is being fast-tracked for possible production start in early 2014. Zodiak Rights will handle worldwide distribution in non-English speaking territories. Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: Tom Hardy Hosts ‘Poaching Wars’; Big Bucks For Aussie Cricket; ITV Preps Singing Show; More

By | Tuesday June 4, 2013 @ 9:00pm PDT

Tom Hardy To Host ITV’s ‘Poaching Wars’

Tom Hardy will host ITV documentary series Poaching Wars With Tom Hardy, a look at the wholesale wildlife poaching crisis in Africa. ITV says the actor conceived the proposition for the two one-hour films which are co-produced by Burning Bright Productions and Hardy’s Hardy, Son & Baker. Large-scale elephant and rhino slaughter are bringing both species to the brink of extinction across Africa and Hardy trekked across the continent to meet the farmers who have lost livestock to poachers and key figures from organizations which are fighting back. Hardy, Dean Baker and Clive Tulloh are exec producing. Ewen Thompson produces and directs.

Aussie Nets Pay $568M For Cricket Matches

Cricket may be something of a mystery to U.S. sports fans, but a new deal Down Under confirms its position as a top draw for Aussies. Cricket Australia has entered a $568M broadcast arrangement with Channels Nine and Ten to air all international games live and in full. Channel Nine will take rights for a further five years and has also agreed to a $60M joint venture to develop new digital products, including live streaming. Cricket will be the only major sport in Australia to stream matches live on PCs. Network Ten will air the domestic KFC Big Bash League matches as part of the deal. “The average annual value of … Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: François Ivernel Exits Pathé; Canal Plus France Legal Battle Will Go To Mediation

By | Friday May 31, 2013 @ 9:00pm PDT

Veteran Exec François Ivernel Exits Pathé To Launch Production Company

Pathé said today that veteran top executive François Ivernel has resigned to launch Montebello Productions, a London-based film-production company that will open June 3. He most recently held several titles within the French company, serving as chairman of the board and managing director of Les Cinémas Gaumont Pathé, deputy managing director of Pathé, as a member of its executive board and as president of Pathe U.K. Ivernel’s executive producer credits include the Best Picture Oscar winner Slumdog Millionaire and Palme d’Or-winning The Wind That Shakes The Barley.

Vivendi Agrees To Mediation With Lagardere Over Canal Plus France

Vivendi agreed Friday that a mediator should decide its legal spat with Lagardere over their pay-TV venture Canal Plus France. Lagardere had said in February it was suing Vivendi for 1.6 billion euros ($2 billion). Reuters reports that the media group wants Vivendi to return the sum to Canal+ France because it claims Vivendi – which owns 80% of the venture — is making permanent use of the business’s entire cash surplus under a disputed cash management agreement between the venture and its Vivendi-owned parent. Vivendi has in turn accused Lagardere of trying to destabilize it and force it to buy back Lagardere’s 20 percent stake in Canal+ France, a move Vivendi.

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