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French media firm evaluates play for Sky Deutschland

A Sky television retail outlet in Manchester, England as it appeared in April 2022.
A Sky television retail outlet in Manchester, England as it appeared in April 2022. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons, Graphic by The Desk)

A French pay television company is considering a bid for Comcast’s satellite television unit Sky Deutschland, according to numerous reports published over the weekend.

German publication Clap said Vivendi’s Canal Plus may bid solo or as part of a consortium for all or part of Sky Deutschland, which could fetch as much as €1 billion (about $1 billion).

Comcast acquired Sky Deutschland as part of its broader purchase of Sky Group in 2018. In October, reports indicated Comcast was interested in exiting the pay TV business in Europe’s DACH territories, which includes Germany, Austria and Switzerland, the three countries covered by Sky Deutschland.

Financial analysts say Sky Deutschland is weighing down Comcast’s balance sheet when it comes to the media firm’s pay TV businesses in Europe. Revenue gains at Sky UK and Sky Italy have been somewhat offset by losses at Sky Deutschland, analysts say.

Officials at Comcast have not publicly expressed any interest in selling off the Sky Deutschland division.

Comcast and Sky have seen increased competition from upstart streaming services in Europe, with lucrative pay television rights for top soccer, auto racing and other sports going to services like DAZN, Amazon Prime Video and similar services.

An acquisition by Canal Plus could help Sky Deutschland offset losing some sports rights to streaming services: Canal Plus recently gained the exclusive broadcast rights to UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and UEFA Europa Conference League soccer matches in Austria, where Sky Deutschland provides satellite TV service.

The acquisition would also roll several Canal Plus media properties in Germany into a single portfolio. There, Canal Plus owns and operates Studio Canal as well as the IPTV and ISP company M7 Deutschland.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).