Vivendi Universal is to re-structure its 100% subsidiary Groupe Canal Plus around the division's most valuable assets: its French broadcasting activities; its film production and rights holding division StudioCanal as well as its stake in Spanish broadcasting operation Sogecable. All will be folded back into Canal Plus SA, which is currently 49% owned by VU.

"The plan aims to strengthen the future and growth of Canal+ by giving the company the means to finance its growth and foster creative production in both film and television. At the same time, the plan will provide new resources for Vivendi Universal. " the group said in an announcement.

The 'means to finance' and 'new resources' will be brought about by the sale of equity exceeding the 49% that VU (or any other investor) is allowed to hold in Canal Plus SA by French regulations, as well as through the sale of assets remaining within the Canal Plus group, mostly 'expandable' foreign broadcasting operations, such as Canal Plus Polish digital platform Canal Polska, Canal Plus Benelux and Telepiu.

Telepiu, which is responsible for two thirds of the Canal Plus group's losses, is expected to be sold to Rupert Murdoch's News Corp for a reported Euros 1.3bn.

Although several potential buyers, such as Lagardere, Pathe, TF1 and M6, had already voiced an interest, selling the entire Canal Group, which is valued between Euros 6bn and Euros 10bn, would have required a lengthy and complicated process.