France’s Canal+ Group has acquired a 12% stake in embattled Nordic streamer Viaplay Group.
The acquisition was announced on the same day that Viaplay announced a major restructuring plan that will see it withdraw from the US and UK markets and cut its staff by 25%.
The acquisition of a 12% stake makes Canal+ Viaplay’s largest single shareholder.
Based in Stockholm, Viaplay Group has been hit by subscriber churn and lower advertising revenue, while the costs of its expansion have also risen. In June, the company announced the departure of chief executive Anders Jensen who was replaced by Jorgen Madsen Lindemann.
Lindemann revealed last week that the company is pulling out of the Baltics, UK, US, Canada and Poland and will focus on the Nordics and Netherlands. Lindeman also said the company is “undertaking a major cost reduction programme and conducting a strategic review of the entire business to consider all options including content sublicensing, asset disposals, equity injections or the sale of the whole Group.”
“We have had to take a number of immediate decisions for the sake of the future of our business,” said Lindemann. “This regrettably means letting go of more than 25% of our people.”
Viaplay is a major commissioner in the Nordics, notably in scripted with shows including Danish crime drama Trom, Norwegian thriller Furia and Swedish drama Threesome.
Canal+ has been steadily building its international footprint and now has 25.5 million subscribers worldwide, including 9.5 million in France and 7.6 million in Africa.
In France Canal+ is in the process of acquiring rival streamer OCS, in which it has a 33% stake. Through its ownership of M7 Group, Canal+ has a significant presence in the Benelux countries and central and eastern Europe. In June, Canal+ took a significant minority stake in pan Asian streaming service Viu.
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