TF1 and Canal+ have acquired, on an equal basis, ESPN’s share of the sports channels Eurosport International and Eurosport France which broadcast respectively in Europe’s French-speaking territories and in the rest of Europe and the Middle-East.

Since February 1993, Eurosport International’s equity was split between:
TF1 (the operator with 34%)
Canal+ (33%)
ESPN (33%).

As a result of the acquisition, Eurosport International’s equity is now split between:
TF1 (50.5%)
Canal+ (49.5%).

Since February 1993, Eurosport France’s equity was split between:
Canal+ (the operator with 34%)
TF1 (31%)
Havas Images (25%)
ESPN (10%).

As a result of the acquisition, Eurosport France’ equity is now split between:
Canal+ (the operator with 39%)
TF1 (36%)
Havas Images (25%).

The shared acquisition price is $ US 155 million.

Patrick Le Lay, Chairman and CEO of TF1, said : ‘This acquisition will help TF1 expand its presence Europe-wide. It is a timely contribution to our strategic push to create an array of popular, high growth-potential theme channels. I am happy that we have been able to operate in tandem with our longtime associate in Eurosport, Canal+.’

Pierre Lescure, Chairman and CEO of Canal+, said : ‘ESPN has been an excellent partner during the last seven years at Europe’s first sports channel. Eurosport is one of the most popular channels on all the digital TV platforms launched by CANAL+ in Europe and strengthening our presence in the channel demonstrates our confidence in its future developments in France an in Europe’

Eurosport is the largest pan-European television network, and the foremost sports channel in the world. It is broadcast in eighteen languages to forty-seven countries. It is available to ninety million homes via cable or one of thirteen digital satellite platforms. It is watched by an average of eighteen million viewers every day. With more than ten million hits per month, its internet site is one of Europe’s most popular sports websites. Eurosport has revenues of ? 190 million and is profitable since 1996.

TF1 is the largest French television network, and one of Europe’s most prominent in terms of audience share (35%). Since its privatization in 1987, it is funded 100% by advertising and revenues of its diversified businesses (video and music publishing, rights sales, etc.) It owns the first French language round-the-clock news channel (LCI), a documentary channel (Odyssee), and a home-shopping channel (Shopping Avenue). Its on-line businesses put it among the top-ranking French internet companies. TF1 also controls 25% of TPS, one of the two satellite television platforms in France. TF1 is listed at the Paris Bourse and has recently been included in the blue-chip CAC 40 index.

Canal+ is Europe’s largest Pay-TV operator with 14 million subscriptions to its different offerings and 4.3 million digital subscribers. CANAL+ is also Europe’s first thematic channel provider with 25 channels and a presence in 14 countries, the third largest holder of audiovisual rights worldwide as well as a leading international supplier of digital TV technology. Through its association with Vivendi in VivendiNet and in Vizzavi (a joint venture between CANAL+, Vivendi and Vodafone), CANAL + is also a major player in the Internet world.

For Further Information:
TF1: Ronald Blunden or Benoît Picot (33 1 4141 3608)

Canal+: Jean-Louis Erneux (33 1 4425 7581)
or Catherine Lanson (33 1 4425 1623)