In a move to quell rumours, the heads of Vivendi Universal and Canal Plus have sent letters of support and explanation to Canal staff.

Following a week of speculation and rumour, Vivendi Universal chairman Jean-Rene Fourtou has assured employees that the channel is "not for sale." He also confirmed the appointment of Bertrand Meheut as president of the Canal Plus Group and informed staff that Canal Plus will not be floated on the Paris stock exchange as had previously been planned.

Separately, Meheut's letter confirmed that Dominique Farrugia will become a consultant on the television and film content of the channel. Former TF1 exec, Guillaume de Verges thus becomes deputy managing director of the Canal Plus Group in charge of the publishing pole.

Meheut went on to note that the reorganisation of Canal will focus on the company's French interests and its two main activities - distribution and publishing. While he stressed the importance of satisfying subscribers and bringing the company back to profitability he also noted "We must simplify our structures, clarify the responsibilities and reduce costs," an obvious reference to lay-offs which are likely to come soon.