Vivendi is one of the few multimedia groups in the world to operate across the entire digital value chain. It creates and publishes content for which it develops broadcast networks and distribution platforms.
Vivendi (VIVHY, VIVEF) has confirmed both cable giant Numericable and telecom/construction conglomerate Bouygues have made bids for its SFR mobile unit. The company adds each bid comes with financing commitments.
Reuters has reported Numericable's bid values SFR at €15B ($20.6B), and would give Vivendi a 30% stake in the post-merger company.
Regulators would likely give less scrutiny to a deal with Numericable than one with Bouygues, given the former wouldn't lower France's mobile carrier count. Either deal could yield a tougher competitor for SFR rivals Orange (ORAN +1%) and Iliad (Free).
As of September, Orange had 26.8M subs, SFR had 21M, Bouygues had 11.1M, and Iliad had 7.4M.
Les Echos reports upstart French carrier Iliad wants to hold talks with rivals SFR (VIVHY) and Bouygues Telecom about a network-sharing deal. Such a deal would allow Iliad to lower its dependence on Orange (ORAN +0.9%), with which it has a roaming deal that lasts at least until 2016, and perhaps until 2018.
Iliad's aggressive pricing has made it a major thorn in the sides of its rivals since launching in Jan. '12, and has allowed it to grab ~10% of the French mobile services market. The company is paying Orange €500M-€700M/year in roaming fees as it works to build out its own 3G and 4G networks.
Vivendi (VIVEF) sells its 53% stake in Maroc Telecom (MAOTF) to UAE's Etisalat for €4.2B ($5.7B) in cash. The companies intend to close the deal by the beginning of 2014.
Negotiations began in April, with Etisalat becoming the only potential buyer after Qatar's Ooredoo withdrew from bidding in June. The Moroccan state holds a 30% stake in Etisalat and wanted to ensure that the new owner would invest in mobile infrastructure.
The divestment builds on an overarching strategy of Vivendi to focus on its media and content businesses.
A day after Delaware's Supreme Court cleared the way for the deals to proceed, Activision (ATVI +0.2%) says it has closed its $5.83B, $13.60/share leveraged recap deal with Vivendi (VIVHY.PK), and that Vivendi's sale of $2.34B in shares (also at $13.60/share) to an investment group led by Activision's CEO and co-chairman has also been finished. (PR)
Not surprisingly, Activision predicts the leveraged recap, which was financed via $4.75B in debt (average interest rate below 5%) and $1.2B in existing cash, will be immediately accretive to EPS.
The two deals leave the investment group, which also features private investment firms and Chinese online gaming giant Tencent (TCEHY.PK), with a 24.7% stake in Activision. Vivendi retains a 12% stake.
Echostar (SATS) and Vivendi (VIVHY.PK) subsidiary GVT are negotiating a pay-TV service joint venture in Brazil, reports Financial Times.
The move would allow GVT to offer standalone TV services as opposed to its current triple-play-only offers (fixed-line, TV, and internet). GVT has grown rapidly and won 500K customers since it started the business in 2012.
Bernstein analyst Claudio Aspesi noted, "This would give GVT the opportunity to distribute their content on a wider footprint." The JV may also benefit from increased pay-TV demand on the back of the 2014 World Cup, which Brazil will host.
A Delaware court has halted the closing of Activision's (ATVI) $5.83B leveraged recap deal with Vivendi (VIVHY.PK), as well as the concurrent purchase of $2.34B in Activision shares from Vivendi by Activision's CEO and co-chairman. The injunction can be lifted either by a successful appeal, or a shareholder vote involving Activision investors not named Vivendi.
Given Activision shares soared when the deals were announced, one would think shareholders would sign off on them.
Activision recently raised $2.5B to help pay for the leveraged recap deal.
Clear Channel Communications has for the first time agreed to pay royalties to Warner Music Group for songs played on Clear Channel's 850 radio stations.
In return, Warner will lower the costs for Clear Channel of streaming music over the Internet from the 22 cents per 100 songs that the latter pays now. However, it reportedly won't be lower than Pandora's (P) 12 cents.
Clear Channel has also been trying to strike licensing deals with Sony (SNE) and Universal Music (VIVEF.PK), but to no avail. Clear Channel, though, does have agreements with smaller labels.
While Clear Channel and its peers have fought against radio stations having to pay royalties, along with Pandora, it has also complained about the high cost of streaming.
Under pressure from shareholders, Vivendi (VIVHY.PK) plans to explore a separation into two companies: one comprising its French phone unit SFR and the other an international media group made up of the the rest of its businesses - Universal Music Group, pay-TV firm Canal Plus and Brazilian broadband provider GVT.
The new Vivendi intends to keep CEO Jean-Francois Dubos in the job and end a search for a new boss.
"The board agreed there were no synergies between telecoms and content, and that was dragging down Vivendi because of a holding structure discount," said 5% shareholder Vincent Bollore.
The proposed break-up comes after Vivendi agreed to sell its holding in video-games maker Activision Blizzard.
Vivendi (VIVHY.PK) has agreed to sell 85% of its stake in Activision Blizzard (ATVI) to the computer-games company and its management for $8.2B. Activision will buy back 429M shares from Vivendi for $5.83B, using $1.2B of cash and debt of $4.6B, while a consortium led by Activision CEO Bobby Kotick and co-Chairman Brian Kelly will acquire 172M shares for $2.34B. The value of the deal is $13.60 a share, or a 10% discount to Activision's close on Thursday of $15.18. Vivendi, which also plans to sell its holding in Maroc Telecom, will retain a stake of 12% in Activision after the deal is closed. (PR)
As expected, Vivendi (VIVHY.PK) has entered talks to sell its 53% holding in Maroc Telecom (MAOTF.PK) to Abu Dhabi based Etisalat for €4.2B in cash. Vivendi hopes to complete the negotiations by the end of 2013, while it's also talking with a Moroccan consortium about investing in the company. A sale would be the first step in Vivendi's strategy to focus on its media operations as it reportedly explores how to generate cash from its Activision Blizzard video-games unit.
Vivendi (VIVEF.PK) is reportedly expected to discuss plans at a board meeting today for Activision Blizzard (ATVI) to pay a special dividend of over $3B. With a 60% holding in the video-games company, Vivendi would receive $2B, although Activision would have to raise debt to pay for the dividend. Vivendi's directors will also talk about a sale of its controlling stake in in North African phone operator Maroc Telecom (MAOTF.PK) for about $5.5B plus debt to Emirates Telecom. The money will allow Vivendi to reduce its €13.19B debt and could presage a spin-off of its SFR French phone operator subsidiary.
Vivendi (VIVEF.PK) reportedly turned down an $8.5B offer it received three months ago from SoftBank (SFTBY.PK) for Universal Music. Analysts reacted with frustration to the report, as SoftBank's offer was $2-3B more than some of them reckon Universal is worth. While the French media and telecom conglomerate is under pressure to split itself up and has been looking to sell telecom operations, it views the music business as core.