Bolloré ups stake in Vivendi as De Puyfontaine plays down Sky rumours

Vincent Bolloré

Vincent Bolloré

Vivendi chairman Vincent Bolloré has again upped his stake in the company, raising his shareholding from 12.01% to 14.52% by investing about €800 million. The move is the third by Bolloré to raise his holding in the last two weeks and the fourth since the beginning of March. 

Bolloré’s holding in Vivendi is now worth a reported €4.7 billion.

Under France’s Florange law, designed to protect long-term investment and employment in the country, shareholders of long standing are entitled to double voting rights. One of Vivendi’s shareholders, PhiTrust, has tabled a resolution opposing the application of the law in Vivendi’s case, to be put to the company’s general meeting next week.

Bolloré has now secured a deal with hedge fund P. Schoenfeld Asset Management whereby the latter has promised to oppose the PhiTrust resolution. Bolloré can reportedly count on sufficient votes from a number of other shareholders to block the attempt to prevent the application of Florange.

Bolloré’s move came as Vivendi chief executive Arnaud de Puyfontaine played down reports of Vivendi’s interest in acquiring European pay TV giant Sky. De Puyfontaine told the Financial Times that Vivendi had no interest in acquiring Sky, although it is “thinking about transformational transactions” on its journey “to become a fully dedicated player in media and content”. He also ruled out a bid for UK broadcaster ITV, saying it was “too expensive”.