Vivendi dismisses investor's approach and break-up plan

18 May 2006

Vivendi has reportedly rejected a plan by ‘stalking’ shareholder Sebastian Holdings, to break up the media and telecoms group, along with an accompanying informal bid approach of more than EUR40 billion (USD51.6 billion), according to Reuters. ‘The supervisory and management boards have rejected the idea of breaking up the group, which is inherent in Sebastian Holdings’ approach,’ Vivendi said in a statement. The French group’s CEO, Jean-Bernard Levy, said he had not received a formal offer, but rather a ‘working document’ from Sebastian Holdings, a private equity firm controlled by Norwegian entrepreneur Alexander Vik. The firm, which currently owns more than 4% of Vivendi shares, is rumoured to have put forward an informal offer of EUR33.5 per share.

In a separate development, UK-based mobile operator Vodafone Group is reported to be interested in buying out Vivendi’s stake in their mobile joint venture – French mobile operator SFR. A spokesman for Vodafone said: ‘The decision rests with Vivendi, but if they do wish to sell the rest of SFR at the right price, we remain interested.’

France, SFR, Vodafone Group