Vivendi Universal and Dutch cable operator UPC are this week expected to merge their pay-TV platforms in Poland.

The long-anticipated move will give the country a single pay-operator and potentially allow the unified platform a chance to achieve profitability faster than if the two were in direct competition.

A spokesman at Canal Plus, the Vivendi Universal subsidiary responsible for the deal, today confirmed the nature of the talks and said that they were "very advanced." But he declined to offer further details.

Although both platforms boast some 350,000 subscribers, Canal Plus would be expected to include its own premium channel and the company's Euros150m cash reserves in return for majority control. Media analysts have speculated that Canal Plus will own 75% of the new entity.

Canal Plus launched its premium pay-channel in Poland in April 1995 and earlier this year achieved outright control when it bought out other shareholders including Belgium's Deficom in April (Screendaily (April 23). At the time of that deal it said that its longer term objective was a merger with UPC's Wyzja.

Vivendi has moved to clean up its loss-making pay-TV operations in outside France. It is seeking merger of Telepiu in Italy and recently announced that it will sell off its Scandinavian interests to Telenor (Screendaily July 11).