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  • Thu, Oct. 20, 11:59 AM
    • Vivendi (OTCPK:VIVHY -0.5%) has a new "fair warning" to Mediaset (OTCPK:MDIUY) in its contentious battle to acquire the Italian company's pay TV unit, but that doesn't preclude an alternative deal still being struck, sources told Reuters.
    • The TV unit, Mediaset Premium, plays a key role in Vivendi's strategy to use Southern Europe to advance its media ambitions. But Vivendi backed out of a binding deal to take full control in July, and the companies have been at legal loggerheads since (with a court date set for March).
    • Vivendi now says it's no longer interested in an amicable solution after Mediaset asked a court to order seizure of a 3.5% stake in Vivendi: "Enough is enough," said a Vivendi-tied source. "We've made a lot of efforts to find a solution. This is a fair warning."
    • Still, backchannel negotiations have been reported and are said to still be taking place. Vivendi is said to be working a preferred alternative where Mediaset and Vivendi would each get 40% of the Premium unit and a third party would hold the remaining 20%.
    | Thu, Oct. 20, 11:59 AM
  • Tue, Oct. 18, 1:17 PM
    • A heavy debt load tied to now-bankrupt Oi (NYSE:OIBR) means that Telecom Italia (TI +2.9%) isn't interested in a purchase, says CEO Flavio Cattaneo.
    • Speaking to newspaper Valor Economico, Cattaneo pointed to 20B reais (about $6.2B) in fines owed by Oi, almost the same as the market value of TI's Brazilian unit TIM Participações (TSU +1.9%). "If Oi manages to split its debt from its assets ... we will be watching," Cattaneo says.
    • Cattaneo took over as TI's CEO amid well-documented disputes between former chief Marco Patuano and investing shareholder Vivendi (OTCPK:VIVHY +1.4%) over the disposition of TIM. Patuano was inclined to hold on to the Brazilian unit while Vivendi actively pushed to sell the division.
    • Previously: Patuano exit from Telecom Italia likely to speed pending deals (Mar. 29 2016)
    | Tue, Oct. 18, 1:17 PM | 7 Comments
  • Fri, Sep. 23, 6:24 PM
    • Still fighting off a hostile takeover from Vivendi (OTCPK:VIVHY +0.2%), Ubisoft (OTCPK:UBSFY +0.4%) has agreed to buy another 3.2% of its stock for $137.5M.
    • The move comes ahead of Ubisoft's annual meeting next Thursday, where a board battle will come to a head.
    • Vivendi began buying shares of Ubisoft and Gameloft (OTCPK:GLOFY -0.7%) -- both run by the Guillemot family -- last year, and attained the votes to control Gameloft in May. That company's CEO Michel Guillemot resigned after that, replaced by Vivendi COO Stephane Roussel.
    • Ubisoft is buying 3.625M shares from Bpifrance for €33.80/share, for €122.5M total, in a transaction closing by the beginning of November. The company closed down 0.8% to €34.31 today in Paris.
    | Fri, Sep. 23, 6:24 PM | 1 Comment
  • Thu, Sep. 15, 10:03 AM
    • The first day in court between Mediaset (OTCPK:MDIUY) and French media giant Vivendi (OTCPK:VIVHY -0.7%) is set for March 21, Reuters reports.
    • The two are in litigation over a deal gone sour that had Vivendi buying full control of Mediaset Premium, the Italian company's pay TV unit. Vivendi backed out of that April deal.
    • Meanwhile, Vivendi says the binding share-swap agreement it signed in April could be void after Sept. 30.
    • Observers think the two still could come to some kind of transaction if they can get together on price, though those chances may be shrinking as more legal rhetoric is inflamed.
    | Thu, Sep. 15, 10:03 AM
  • Thu, Sep. 8, 12:23 PM
    • Mediaset (OTCPK:MDIUY +3%), in the middle of a legal fight over an aborted deal with Vivendi (OTCPK:VIVHY +0.3%), has now taken a complaint to France's stock market regulator over Vivendi's statements about the deal.
    • The Italian broadcaster had sued Vivendi for damages after the French media giant backed out of a transaction to acquire pay TV operation Mediaset Premium. Vivendi then considered suing for defamation.
    • Mediaset is now asking regulator AMF to force Vivendi to amend statements about the deal it says are incorrect, including that the transaction was subject to due diligence.
    • Mediaset's damages case has a first hearing set for February.
    • Meanwhile, reports suggest that an alternate deal between the two may still be likely as backchannel negotiations continue over price.
    | Thu, Sep. 8, 12:23 PM | 1 Comment
  • Thu, Sep. 1, 10:25 AM
    • A contentious legal battle between media giants Vivendi (OTCPK:VIVHY +0.8%) and Mediaset (OTCPK:MDIUY) is still likely to result in a pay TV transaction between the two, a CTFN report suggests, as the differences may amount to price.
    • Vivendi had reached a deal to acquire Mediaset Premium, the pay TV operation of the Italian broadcaster, in April. But in late July, Vivendi decided to back out, sinking Mediaset shares and resulting in a lawsuit. Vivendi threatened a defamation suit as well.
    • A source tells CTFN that they believe the suit's a strategy to force a new deal: “Mediaset Premium is burning more than €80 million cash a year. Mediaset wants to get rid of it before the end of the year so it does not have to include it in its 2016 financials."
    • Vivendi said it was unwilling to take 100% of the operation, instead seeking about 20% of Mediaset Premium, then a 15% stake in parent Mediaset.
    • A deal would be of a piece with Vivendi's recent moves (including its stake in Telecom Italia) to begin construction of a Southern Europe media platform strategy.
    | Thu, Sep. 1, 10:25 AM
  • Wed, Aug. 24, 5:37 PM
    • Orange (ORAN -1.4%) is denying reports that it's set a tie-up with Vivendi (OTCPK:VIVHY +0.2%) that would include taking stakes in Telecom Italia (TI -0.6%) and Canal Plus.
    • Chatter about such a deal has been rampant in the past several months, even as Vivendi firmed up its move into TI holdings. But: "Orange obviously discusses with all content players in a sector that is constantly evolving, but the group formally denies having reached any secret deal with Vivendi including Canal Plus and Telecom Italia," a spokesman told Reuters.
    • French magazine Challenges said Orange had reached a secret deal where it would buy up to 20% of Canal Plus, Vivendi's pay TV operation, and that it separately would get shares of TI that are currently owned by Vivendi.
    • After hours: TI +3.6%.
    | Wed, Aug. 24, 5:37 PM | 2 Comments
  • Wed, Jun. 1, 11:22 AM
    • Gameloft (OTCPK:GLOFY) founder and Chairman/CEO Michel Guillemot expects to resign after shareholders have backed a hostile bid for the company by Vivendi (OTCPK:VIVHY +0.1%), Bloomberg reports.
    • France's market regulator today confirmed reports from yesterday that Vivendi had the votes to control the French game maker.
    • Vivendi controls about 56% of votes and plans to appoint a majority slate at the June 29 annual meeting.
    • Guillemot and his family now turn their attention to defending their other company, the bigger Ubisoft (OTCPK:UBSFY), also the likely target of a takeover by Vivendi. The Guillemots control 15% of votes there, while Vivendi owns about 18% of capital.
    • Previously: Ubisoft threatens talent drain as Vivendi takeover defense (Mar. 23 2016)
    | Wed, Jun. 1, 11:22 AM | 9 Comments
  • Tue, May 31, 12:22 PM
    • Vivendi (OTCPK:VIVHY -0.5%) now has the votes to take over Gameloft (OTCPK:GLOFY) after its unwelcome pursuit of the game maker, according to Les Echos.
    • It was the acquisition of Amber Capital's roughly 30% stake earlier this month that made the difference, the paper says. Detailed figures aren't certain but it's expected that Vivendi has a 50%-plus voting stake now.
    • Vivendi had accumulated around 15% of Gameloft and Ubisoft (OTCPK:UBSFY +2.2%), each controlled by the Guillemot family, through gradual purchases. It's unclear how much of Gameloft the Guillemots still control.
    | Tue, May 31, 12:22 PM | 1 Comment
  • Fri, May 20, 9:27 AM
    • Vivendi (OTCPK:VIVHY) is another step closer to control of French videogame maker Gameloft (OTCPK:GLOFY) as hedge fund Amber Capital agreed to tender its stake, which would give Vivendi a powerful position.
    • Vivendi raised its hostile bid price yesterday by way of a share purchase, to €8/share. After coming off its all-day halt yesterday in Paris, Gameloft shares are up 11.1% there today, to €7.98.
    • The media giant held about 29.4% of Gameloft, but Amber's stake could bring it to 44%, twice more than the Guillemot family that founded and runs Gameloft.
    • The €8/share offer values Gameloft around €680M, up from the previous valuation of €610M.
    • Vivendi shares are up 0.8% in Paris.
    • Now read UbiSoft Faces The Risk Of Takeover From Vivendi »
    | Fri, May 20, 9:27 AM | 1 Comment
  • Thu, May 19, 1:49 PM
    • Vivendi (OTCPK:VIVHY -1%) is increasing pressure on a videogame target by raising its hostile bid for Gameloft (OTCPK:GLOFY +3.7%) by 11%, to €8/share.
    • The bid was automatically raised under French regulations when the media giant bought a bit of stock at that higher price compared to its €7.2/share bid. Gameloft shares were suspended for the day in Paris, where they were down 0.7% to €7.18.
    • The offer is set to expire in eight days, and Gameloft is planning a board meeting to evaluate it.
    • After a buildup, Vivendi holds 29.4% of Gameloft (and 26.5% of voting power). And its pursuit of one company may help another bid: Vivendi is also pursuing Ubisoft (OTCPK:UBSFY), controlled as Gameloft is by the Guillemot family.
    • Now read UbiSoft Faces The Risk Of Takeover From Vivendi »
    | Thu, May 19, 1:49 PM | 1 Comment
  • Tue, May 17, 10:24 AM
    • Vincent Bollore -- chairman, CEO and top stockholder at media giant Vivendi (OTCPK:VIVHY +1.2%) -- says he can see a tie-up between that company and ad agency Havas (OTCPK:HAVSF), in which he's also lead shareholder.
    • "It's obvious that one day there will be something between Vivendi and Havas," he tells Les Echos.
    • Vivendi hasn't been shy about business combinations, asserting its authority at Telecom Italia and considering cutting loose Canal Plus TV channels, as it considers forming a southern European media hub and taking over French game makers Ubisoft and Gameloft.
    • Bollore holds about 14% of Vivendi, and about 60% of Paris-based Havas.
    • Now read Is The Deal With Vivendi A Positive Sign For Mediaset? »
    | Tue, May 17, 10:24 AM | 2 Comments
  • Thu, Apr. 21, 10:57 AM
    • Vivendi (OTCPK:VIVHY -2%) is actively pushing Telecom Italia (TI -0.1%) toward a sale of its Brazilian unit, TIM Participaçoes (TSU +1.8%), sources tell CTFN.
    • The French media giant's stance on TIM was a clear catalyst for the March departure of Marco Patuano as TI's chief executive, as Patuano was inclined to hold on to the business.
    • A series of machinations over the past year took place around the possible merger of TIM with debt-laden carrier Oi (OIBR -3.5%) before the prospects of a deal imploded.
    • An M&A lawyer said that when Vivendi inherited its Telecom Italia stake in 2014 (via its sale of broadband company GVT to Telefonica), it was already expressing an interest in getting out of Brazil and taking charge of TI as a media platform.
    • Rivals Telefonica Brasil (VIV -0.2%) and Claro (AMX +1.5%) aren't likely candidates to take over TIM due to regulatory issues. Oi is surely a candidate again, but more desperate for a move than TIM. Brazil might go for a bid from someone like Vodafone (VOD -0.8%), though.
    • Now read Oi's Debt Restructuring: A 4-Player Chess Game »
    | Thu, Apr. 21, 10:57 AM | 4 Comments
  • Wed, Mar. 30, 11:07 AM
    • The founding Guillemot family may be increasing its stake in game maker Gameloft (OTCPK:GLOFY) in an effort to resist a hostile tender offer from Vivendi (OTCPK:VIVHY +0.8%).
    • CEO Michel Guillemot told Le Monde: "We could go on ... We don't have much debt."
    • Vivendi has been in pursuit of Gameloft and Ubisoft (OTCPK:UBSFY +3.6%) -- also founded by the Guillemots -- by increasing stakes in the two amid growing speculation that takeover bids were coming.
    • Vivendi launched a tender for Gameloft after it crossed the 30% stake threshold. It raised its offer to €7.20/share on Feb. 29; shares are trading in Paris today up 2.6% to €7.52. Vivendi also owns 15.66% of Ubisoft.
    | Wed, Mar. 30, 11:07 AM
  • Fri, Mar. 11, 9:27 AM
    • A marriage between Telecom Italia (NYSE:TI) and Orange (NYSE:ORAN) is a "fantasy," says TI Chairman Giuseppe Recchi in response to chatter that originated with Orange chief Stephane Richard.
    • Richard had said this week that he would look at an operation with TI if Vincent Bollore and France's Vivendi (OTCPK:VIVHY), TI's largest shareholder, pressed for it. But Recchi said Richard should take responsibility for floating rumors about a tie-up "that is only in his head and ... is causing effects on the media and on the market."
    • The kind of consolidation that makes sense from an industrial standpoint are national, Recchi says; with cross-border, "The only synergies are financial and not industrial."
    • Orange is also in exclusive talks today to acquire Lexsi, a European security intel services company, for its Orange Cyberdefense unit.
    • Orange shares are up 3.8% premarket; Vivendi is up 0.4% in early trading.
    | Fri, Mar. 11, 9:27 AM
  • Tue, Mar. 8, 3:41 PM
    • Anonymous Content -- the producers of the last two Best Picture Oscar winners, Spotlight and Birdman -- is shopping itself for a sale or major investment and drawing some reported interest from a number of media firms.
    • The Wall Street Journal points to several names that might invest at a valuation of $200M for the company: Viacom (VIA, VIAB), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Vivendi (OTCPK:VIVHY) and Endemol Shine (FOX, FOXA, APO).
    • Anonymous Content is seeking a buyer with nice market timing for content -- which is drawing increasingly higher prices from a growing pile of stakeholders -- but at a price that amounts to nearly 40 times its annual cash flow of $5M.
    • Along with its Oscar chops, the firm's also behind The Revenant (which won an Oscar for star Leonardo DiCaprio) and regarded television series Mr. Robot and True Detective. And it manages hundreds of creatives in the film/TV field.
    | Tue, Mar. 8, 3:41 PM | 1 Comment