Vivendi expected to strike Telecom Italia deal

The Vivendi office is seen in Paris on Wednesday, May 17, 2006.Vivendi is expected to announce a deal to take a stake in Telecom Italia this week, according to a report in French financial daily Les Echos.

Citing a source close to the matter, the paper reported that a deal is likely to be announced on Tuesday or Wednesday that will see Vivendi take a stake of 14.9%, a larger shareholding than the 8.3% it committed to as a result of the sale of Brazilian telecom operator GVT to Telefónica.

According to Les Echos, Vivendi hopes to take up to 14.9% of the 22.3% stake currently owned by the joint holding company of Telefónica, Generali, Mediobanca and Intesa Sanpaolo, which is to be dissolved. Les Echos says Vivendi could spend a total of €1.4 billion to secure a deal that would enable it to realise synergies with the telco via its ownership of Canal+ and Universal Music.

The paper further reports that Vivendi hopes to take two seats on the Telecom Italia board, which may be occupied by Vivendi president Arnaud de Puyfontaine and development director Stéphane Roussel.

Vivendi chairman Vincent Bolloré already holds a 7% stake in Mediobanca.

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