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Vivendi denies report of possible break-up

French media group Vivendi has strongly denied a report by Bloomberg that it is considering a break-up of the company.

Bloomberg reported that Vivendi was considering an overhaul that could lead to its break up, with one option being to split it into two. According to the report, this could involve one part incorporating content-based media units including Universal Music Group and video-game maker Activision Blizzard, while the other would include telecommunications and content distribution units. Other options could include a partial or complete spin-off of pay TV arm Canal Plus, according to Bloomberg.

Vivendi issued a statement denying the report. “Vivendi was astonished to read Bloomberg’s allegations in a wire published tonight and regarding its strategy,” the company said. “Vivendi vigorously denies all the allegations in this wire, which are ungrounded and, as a matter of fact, anonymous. Vivendi regrets that its formal denial was not taken into account in Bloomberg’s wire. Value creation for the shareholder is at the core of Vivendi’s strategy. Future strategic decisions will be considered along this line.”

According to Bloomberg, Vivendi’s supervisory board is due to discuss ways of reversing a slide in the company’s stock price at a three-day summit in June, when the various alternatives will be put on the table.
Vivendi chairman Jean-Rene Fourtou has recognised that Vivendi is trading at a large discount to the value of its individual subsidiaries taken together. Fourtou and CEO Jean-Bernard Levy have faced criticism over the company’s low valuation.