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Canal Plus acquires minor stake in Viaplay as layoffs continue

A restructuring of its business will also see Viaplay exit the U.K., U.S. and Canadian markets.

A restructuring of its business will also see Viaplay exit the U.K., U.S. and Canadian markets.

Jørgen Madsen Lindemann, the group CEO of streaming service Viaplay. (Courtesy image)
Jørgen Madsen Lindemann, the group CEO of streaming service Viaplay. (Courtesy image)

French media firm Canal Plus Group has acquired a 12 percent stake in their Scandinavian counterpart Viaplay, the companies announced on Thursday.

The buy-in comes at a time when Viaplay is restructuring its business, which involves laying off workers in some key sectors and exiting a handful of markets.

On Thursday, Viaplay announced it was moving forward with layoffs that were previously announced to employees earlier in the month, with around 450 workers receiving pink slips. The number of affected employees amounts to 25 percent of Viaplay’s current workforce.

Viaplay also announced it is planning to exit the sports market in the United Kingdom, where it offers televised coverage of the Scottish League Cup and United Rugby Championship events. Viaplay acquired British sports channel Premier Sports last year.

Additionally, executives at Viaplay say they intend to pull out of several other regions, including the United States and Canada, as they focus their core business around the Nordic region.

In the United Kingdom, sports will continue to be offered on the Viaplay channel until the company is able to find a new buyer or partner to take over the option. Elsewhere, localized version of Viaplay’s streaming service will still be available for subscribers while the company looks for ways to exit those markets.

“We will exit in the form of disposal, partnering or winding down the businesses,” Jørgen Madsen Lindemann, the group CEO of Viaplay, said on Thursday.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 11 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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