Vivendi appoints banks ahead of SFR listing

11 Oct 2013

Reuters reports that French media group Vivendi has appointed Societe Generale and Citigroup as its lead banks to prepare the ground for the planned stock market listing of its ailing French telecoms unit SFR. With the conglomerate looking to refocus on its core media, music and pay-TV activities, Vivendi is said to be reviewing SFR with a view to making a decision on whether or not to spin it off, early next year. An unnamed source familiar with the subject is quoted as saying that ‘the calendar is basically aiming for marketing in summer for a fall IPO window’, while separately another source says that Goldman Sachs, BNP Paribas, Lazard and Bank of America Merrill Lynch may also play a ‘smaller role’ in the deal.

Vivendi declined to comment on the latest speculation but given it is already divesting most of its Activision video gaming unit and its Moroccan carrier business, Maroc Telecom, as part of a broader overhaul, a sale of SFR – which has seen its earnings slumping since 2010 and was then battered by the arrival of French mobile market newcomer Iliad (Free Mobile) – seemingly makes sense, as it would leave the cellco wholly independent, and better able to compete with rivals Orange France and Bouygues Telecom.

France, SFR