Chargeurs split fuels media rumours

MATHEW HORSMAN

Media Editor

Demerger mania crossed the Channel yesterday, as the holding company Chargeurs unveiled a radical split of its media and industrial operations.

Chargeurs, which has a 17.8 per cent stake in UK satellite broadcaster BSkyB, firmly denied market rumours that it intended to sell the holding. Speculation in advance of the demerger announcement helped push BSkyB shares up 21p in frantic trading.

Once details of the split were announced in Paris, the BSkyB shares dropped sharply back, but none the less ended the day 51/2p higher at 3981/2p.

Chargeurs, one of the continent's leading media players, also has investments in textiles and transport, which have reduced the stock's attractiveness, according to media analysts.

But difficulties in the publishing and television sector, including a restructuring charge of 120m FF taken by ailing French newspaper Liberation, were behind the company's losses of 575m FF in 1995, unveiled yesterday.

In a statement, the company said the demerger proposals, which have been approved by French tax authorities and expected to be "tax-neutral'', followed "an assessment by Chargeurs of the necessity to clarify and strengthen the development prospects specific to each of its major sectors of activity."

The company added that the demerged companies would be able to focus more clearly on strategic and competitive issues.

Under the terms of the demerger proposal, Chargeurs shareholders will get one share in Pathe, the new media and television company, and one share in Chargeurs International, the industrial arm, for every share they current hold. The BSkyB stake, inherited following the merger of Rupert Murdoch's Sky Television and BSB, co-owned by Chargeurs, is to remain with Pathe.

Chargeurs bought control of Pathe Cinema in 1990, beating controversial Italian financier Giancarlo Parretti, who later bought the Hollywood studio MGM.

Chargeurs' main shareholder, Jerome Seydoux, who speaks for 29 per cent family stake, has agreed not to sell shares in the company for at least five years. He is to become chairman of Pathe, which already groups the company's cinema interests.

Despite its loss-making status, the company has been rumoured as a buyer for CLT, the Luxembourg-based broadcaster whose name has also been linked with BSkyB. CLT's major shareholder, Groupe Bruxelles Lambert, is believed to be prepared to sell the stake.

Chargeurs is expected to take part in the consolidation of the continental television market, which may see a concentration in the areas of digital broadcasting and pay-TV. The company yesterday helped fuel speculation that it would seek partners to expand in the media sector, when it said the demerger would "open up the possibility of forging partnerships".

BSkyB is believed to be among those companies looking at opportunities to expand on the Continent.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Guru Careers: Pricing Analyst

£30 - 35k: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pricing Analyst to join a leading e-...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K YR1: SThree: At SThree, we like to be dif...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is a mul...

Guru Careers: C# Project Team Lead

£55 - 65k (DOE): Guru Careers: A unique opportunity for a permanent C# Develop...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor