The agreement took observers by surprise given that its value represents a considerable discount on the current price of Numericable-SFR shares.
Vivendi said the sale of its 20% stake in Numericable-SFR to the company and its majority owner Altice would deliver a premium of 20% over the value of the closing precie of its shares when the sale of SFR was completed in November. It also noted that that “the low level of liquidity in the Numericable-SFR shares would make a future exit under optimal conditions uncertain”.
The deal means that Vivendi will have realised €17 billion from the sale of the telco in total. The company said it would return €5.7 billion to shareholders this year. Vivendi will pay out a €1 dividend for 2014 and plans a share buyback programme of approximately €2.7 billion.
Reporting its full-year results, Vivendi said that pay TV unit Canal+ showed a solid increase in revenues thanks to the strength in its overseas activities, offset by a slowdown in France resulting from the VAT increase at the beginning of the year. The pay TV unit posted sales of €5.456 billion, up 2.7% or 0.4% at constant exchange rates.
Canal+ had 15.3 million subscriptions at thee end of the year, up 678,000 year-on-year, largely thanks to a strong performance in Africa and Vietnam, as well as growth in mainland France of its Canalplay SVoD offering. The total number of individual customers is now over 11 million, up from 10.4 million at the end of 2013.
Vivendi posted revenues of just over €10 billion for the year, down by 1.4% year-on-year at constant exchange rates, EBITA was up 8.1% at constant exchange rates to €999 million.