Suitors circle TF1 film rights arm

At least five parties interested in buying

PARIS -- French network TF1 is studying the sale of its film rights arm TF1 International with at least five interested parties, media reports said Tuesday.

Among the potential buyers are France Telecom's new media arm Orange; Canal Plus film division StudioCanal; Gallic independent Wild Bunch; Entertainment One; and Canadian film group Alliance Films in association with Tunisian producer Tarak Ben Ammar, the financial newspaper Les Echos reported.

TF1 would neither confirm nor deny the report, but said it is "carrying out reflection concerning the future of TF1 International." It already was known that Alliance had kicked the tires of TF1 International, and rumors of an imminent sale abounded at this year's Festival de Cannes.

TF1 International has a catalog of about 600 films and TV programs, and is one of France's leading theatrical distributors. It also is active in video publishing, international film sales and TV sales.