Liberty looking to finalise bid for Vivendi entertainment assets

17 Jun 2003

Liberty Media Corp [NYSE: L] is in the midst of finalising an offer of between USD12 billion and USD14 billion for the entertainment assets of heavily-indebted French conglomerate Vivendi Universal [NYSE: V], according to media reports. Liberty’s chairman Dr John Malone met Jean-Bernard Levy, COO at Vivendi, to discuss the bid last week. Liberty, which already has a 3.5% stake in Vivendi, is expected to finalise an offer for Vivendi Universal Entertainment – which includes cable television assets, film studios and theme parks – this week. Vivendi is looking to reduce its EUR16 billion debt by selling the entertainment assets bought up by former CEO Jean-Marie Messier in a frenzied bout of activity that saw the former water utility become a global entertainment company on a scale with AOL Time Warner. It has set a 23 June deadline for the acceptance of offers. Other potential bidders include Edgar Broffman Jr., oil billionaire Marvin Davis, Viacom, Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer and a syndicate led by Wachovia Corp.