Canal+ Group has taken full ownership of SPI International, the European broadcast and streaming operator of various brands, including FilmBox, FightBox and Dizi.
According to the filing, Canal+ has acquired 30% of Digital SPI International, the Lisbon-based indirect majority shareholder in Poland’s Kino Polska, from the listed owner of the shares, Hilda Uziyel. The French mass media company initially acquired a 70 per cent stake in SPI in September 2021, but announced in April 2023 that it would be buying up the remaining 30 per cent from Hilda Uziyel to take full ownership. That deal has now closed.
Canal+ Group has previously said that SPI International, which has significant presence in Europe, will bring opportunities to strengthen its pay-TV offers in all European markets and develop new catalog of services. It emerged in April that Canal+ intended, via Luxembourg-based subsidiary M7 Group, to exercise a call option on the 30% in the channel provider it did not already own to give it 100% control of the outfit. At that time SPI founders Berk Uziyel and Loni Farhi exited their roles and Erwan Luherne, director of business integration for Canal+ International, and Jeroen Bergman, board member of M7 Group responsible for content and business development, served as their replacements.
Luherne became Managing Director of SPI International, which operates more than 40 free-to-air and pay-TV channels across European markets including Poland, Czech Republic, Romania, Serbia, the Netherlands and Russia. It is also behind movie service FilmBox and launched its Dizi-branded streamer in 2021, which focuses on Turkish content such as Black Money Love. The company also works with over 700 third-party operators worldwide to offer access to its linear and on-demand content, while also distributing content.