Vivendi chairman Vincent Bolloré and Telecom Italia deputy director Marco Patuano met in Paris yesterday to discuss the merger of the pair’s Brazilian units GVT and TIM Brasil in exchange for Vivendi taking a stake in Telecom Italia, according to press reports.
According to Reuters, citing an unnamed source, Telecom Italia doesn’t plan to increase its capital to finance the acquisition of GVT. Any capital increase will instead be via TIM Brasil. The source indicated that Telecom Italia could made an offer to Vivendi between now and the end of the month.
According to the Reuters report, Alberto Nagel, deputy director of Mediobanca, in indirect investor in Telecom Italia, was present at the meeting. Bolloré, who owns 5% of Vivendi’s capital, is also a shareholder in Mediobanca.
The Vivendi-Telecom Italia meeting followed a €6.7 billion offer by Telefónica, Telecom Italia’s major shareholder but a competitor with the Italian telco in the Brazilian market, for GVT. That deal included an offer to sell part of Telefónica’s stake in Telecom Italia to Vivendi once the GVT acquisition was completed.
According to Italian financial daily Il Sole 24 Ore, Vivendi’s board is divided on the Telefónica offer, with some board members favouring retaining control of GVT in order to realise synergies within the group including the distribution of pay TV content in the growing Brazilian market.
A partnership with Telecom Italia would also possibly offer synergies, particularly if, as some reports suggest, it included Vivendi taking a stake in Telecom Italia Media. Vivendi’s Bolloré is keen to build strategic partnerships and alliances that further his goal of securing distribution channels for Canal+ and Universal Music content.