The axe falls today. A long anticipated announcement will come from Canal Plus' Paris headquarters regarding what could turn out to be massive lay-offs.

Although Canal management is keeping quiet about what the news will entail, Bertrand Meheut, the newly-installed president of Canal Plus told French daily La Tribune, "I made a decision to analyse the organisation and to define priorities. I wanted the staff reduction to be as small as possible. The number that will be revealed will be, I believe, in equilibrium between what is possible and preserving our forces."

Union sources on Monday put potential firings at between 300 and 700 employees. While it is as yet unclear if Wednesday's list of cuts will include jobs at Canal film production and sales arm, StudioCanal, it is likely.

Meheut was recently brought in following the firing of Xavier Couture who in turn had replaced beloved Canal boss Pierre Lescure. Meheut is charged with whipping the Canal ship into shape which includes selling off non-French subsidiaries. The sale of Italian group Telepiu is nearing completion and sales of the Benelux and Nordic interests are currently being negotiated.

Still, Meheut says that Canal is not being trimmed down and prettied up just to be sold. It is believed, however, that Canal will bring in partners down the road and rumours abound that StudioCanal could have a very short shelf-life at this point.