Breakingviews

Vivendi boosts shareholder credentials in GVT sale

August 28, 2014

The French media group says it favors Telefonica’s $10 bln bid for its Brazilian mobile unit. Telefonica could pay more, but it’s good that Vivendi has chosen the surest exit for shareholders. As for rival bidder Telecom Italia, it now faces an uncertain future.

Watchdogs could change Vivendi’s EMI tune

March 23, 2012

The French group’s Universal music arm feels so good about its chances of success that it agreed to pay the full $1.9 bln price even if trustbusters block the deal. But it’s actually a third possibility - being forced to sell pieces - that could be the costliest for Universal.

Vivendi may be out of pocket on EMI by salving EU

July 30, 2012

The French group’s Universal Music arm could sell over a quarter of its British target’s business to appease European trustbusters. Yet Vivendi still must pay 90 pct of the $1.9 bln purchase price. Lost profit and synergies could cost it much more than if the EU nixed the deal.

Warner Music echoes some off-key EMI chords

September 27, 2012

With the Beatles’ parent officially swallowed up by Universal, Warner is left as a tiny number three. Like the old EMI, it is reliant on older acts, heavily indebted and led by an industry outsider. Owner Len Blavatnik has deep pockets, but the formula still doesn’t sound right.

Vivendi games over Activision cash sound worrying

July 8, 2013

The French group reportedly wants to lever up Activision, its video games subsidiary, to pay itself a huge dividend. That would suggest fuzzy strategy at Vivendi. It would also raise concerns that a Moroccan selloff could fail, or that life in mobile land may get even tougher.

Will the music ever stop for Vivendi’s bosses?

July 19, 2013

The French conglomerate rejected an $8.5 bln bid for Universal Music, the FT says. Vivendi is trying to scale back in telecoms and focus on a ragbag of media assets. But why not aim for a full breakup? Rebuffing this rich offer leaves the company with some explaining to do.

Vivendi compromises to get shot of Activision

July 26, 2013

The French conglomerate is selling most of its stake in the video games maker for $8.2 bln. With this and the sale of Maroc Telecom, Vivendi’s promised reinvention is finally underway. But in neither case do its shareholders get the premium that usually comes with ceding control.

Vivendi has nine months to show investors its worth

December 7, 2009

The French conglomerate might not see any of the $5.8 billion it is making from the sale of its 20 percent stake in NBC Universal until September next year. Given its poor track record in creating shareholder value, Vivendi should use the time to convince investors that it deserves to keep the cash.

Vivendi takes the plunge in Brazil

November 16, 2009

Vivendi  is making a bold statement in emerging markets by paying a hefty $4.18 billion for Brazilian telecom GVT. If combined with the sale of its 20 percent stake of NBC Universal, the move could help shake off its persistent conglomerate discount.

Déjà vu all over again for Comcast and NBC

October 1, 2009

There's a strong sense of déjà vu about the U.S. entertainment industry. Six years after NBC and Vivendi merged their US media assets, the two companies are at the centre of renewed speculation.