France-headquartered Orange would consider bidding for Vivendi’s pay-TV business Canal Plus if the option ever arose, Reuters reported.
“If Canal Plus were up for sale tomorrow, Orange would definitely look into it. Obviously,” CEO Stephane Richard (pictured) said, adding: “There are many reasons that suggest forging closer ties.”
A spokesman for Vivendi declined to comment, the news agency reported.
Orange and Canal Plus have worked together for many years. In 2011, they announced a strategic partnership to bring the Orange cinema series package and TPS Star channel together under one joint venture, and the pair recently launched a common offer targeting broadband fibre customers.
In the Ivory Coast, they have been pre-selected in a tender for the development of digital terrestrial television.
Richard’s comments come at a time when operators around the world are trying to compete against content providers like Netflix and Amazon.
In the US, AT&T launched cross-platform video streaming services to expand the reach of its pay-TV offering.
Orange’s domestic rival SFR Group, a subsidiary of Netherlands-headquartered telecoms company Altice, offers content including English Premier League soccer and recently signed a deal with NBC Universal.
Asked about talk that Vivendi’s chairman, Vincent Bollore, might be interested in acquiring a stake in Orange, Richard said “Mr Bollore has never expressed an interest in becoming an Orange shareholder,” Reuters stated.
Orange in August denied rumours it had struck a “secret deal” with Vivendi, which would also see it taking a stake in Telecom Italia.