Vivendi chief secures victory in double vote battle, promises more media acquisitions

Vincent Bolloré

Vincent Bolloré

Vivendi chairman Vincent Bolloré on Friday secured victory in his battle with rebellious shareholders over the application of France’s Florange law to give him double voting rights.

Vivendi’s annual general meeting voted down a resolution tabled by shareholder PhiTrust and supported by a number of other investors to prevent the application of the law, which gives double voting rights to shareholders of more than two years’ standing, in Vivendi’s case. The resolution secured 402.5 million votes in favour, with 401.6 million against. The support of more than two thirds of shareholders is required to secure exemption from the law, which the French government designed to protect domestic investment and employment.

At the meeting, Bolloré hailed Vivendi’s proposed €217 million acquisition of an 80% stake in Dailymotion, Orange’s video sharing site, as “a formidable opportunity” that would one day generate a lot of money. He said that it would enable the delivery of synergies across Vivendi’s properties by providing a channel for the distribution of short-form content generated by Canal+ and music from Universal Music Group, as well as opportunities for advertising sister company Havas, in which Vivendi holds a 60% stake and which is headed by Bolloré’s son Yannick.

Vivendi development director Stéphane Roussel said that Dailymotion would become “an alternative to YouTube”.

Bolloré said that Vivendi would not rest with the acquisition of Dailymotion this year. Vivendi’s management is expected to identify potential targets next month.