C More Group (Canal+)
Fund: Fund IV
Investment theme: Strategic re-positioning
Investment date: October 2003
Exit date: April 2005
C More Group (Canal+) is the leading premium pay-TV
operator in the Nordic region. The company offers pay-TV (film,
series, sport) and interactive services under the brands Canal+ and
C Sports. Canal+ is broadcasted digitally via satellite, cable as
well as digital terrestrial television.
Canal+ was sold by Vivendi Universal in a forced
process, since Vivendi needed to realise cash to service debt. The
timing of the sale was poor for Vivendi because the company's
recent trading history had been unstable, and the Premier League,
being the single most important right, was due for renewal within
six months, thereby providing significant uncertainty for a buyer
of the business.
Nordic Capital saw the emergence of digital
television as a major force that would reshape the television
markets in the Nordic region. Canal+ Nordic, being a
platform-agnostic provider of subscription-based television, was
ideally positioned to be attractive for several different kinds of
industrial players within a three to five year time horizon.
Canal+ consisted of three channels that subscribers
signed up for. Canal+ competitive strength was based on having
secured the most attractive rights within both sports and Hollywood
movies, as well as being market leader with a 60-70% market share,
thereby making it possible to outbid rival television channels for
key rights. Canal+ enjoys a larger base to distribute costs over,
and was therefore likely to maintain long-term competitiveness.
Nordic Capital's analysis showed a company with a
high potential, which would attract high interest from strategic
buyers following a turn-around. Nordic Capital teamed up with New
York based Baker Capital to reduce competition in the process.
Nordic Capital ensured that a new, strong management
team was put in place following the acquisition. Management was
assisted by the Nordic Capital team to make bid analysis for the
Premier League auction, in developing the new channel format for
the re-launch, in developing the business plan for new services, as
well as positioning the company for the sales process.
In March 2005, Canal+ was acquired
by SBS, a pan-European broadcasting group with a strong Nordic
presence. The exit was made through a limited auction to industrial
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