Vivendi agrees proposal for mediator in Canal+ spat

PARIS Fri May 31, 2013 1:58pm EDT

PARIS May 31 (Reuters) - French media group Vivendi on Friday backed a proposal to name a mediator in the legal spat with media group Lagardere over their Canal+ France pay-TV venture.

"Vivendi confirms it has accepted the proposal from Commercial Court President Franck Gentin to open the way to a mediation in the lawsuit filed by Lagardere, demonstrating its goodwill and full confidence," a Vivendi spokesman told Reuters.

Lagardere could not be immediately reached for comment.

Lagardere had said in February it was suing Vivendi for 1.6 billion euros ($2 billion) in a dispute over Canal+ France.

Lagardere wants Vivendi to return the sum to Canal+ France because it claims Vivendi is making permanent use of the business's entire cash surplus under a disputed cash management agreement between the venture and its Vivendi-owned parent.

Vivendi has in turn accused Lagardere of trying to destabilise it and force it to buy back Lagardere's 20 percent stake in Canal+ France.

Earlier this month Vivendi, which owns the remaining 80 percent, said the stake was "core" and it was not interested in selling it to Lagardere. ($1 = 0.7716 euros) (Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by David Holmes)