Vivendi ups stakes in Gameloft battle

The Vivendi office is seen in Paris on Wednesday, May 17, 2006.Vivendi’s long-running hostile attempt to take over French games company Gameloft has entered a new phase with its public tender offer price for the company’s shares increasing automatically from €720 to €8 per share.

The increase results from stock market rules triggered by the media giant’s a result decision to buy a tranche of Gameloft shares at €8. Vivendi now owns approximately 29.37% of the company.

The offer, which now represents a 46% premium on Gameloft shares’ closing price before the public tender began, and a 100.5% premium on the price before Vivendi became a shareholder in October last year, is set to expire on May 27.

Separately, Vivendi has placed a €1.5 billion bond made up of two tranches with five and 10-year maturities respectively. The first tranche is for €1 billion with a coupon of 0.75%, while the second, for €500 million, has a coupon of 1.875%. Vivendi said the issue was oversubscribed three and a half times. It said the debt is most intended to refinance an existing €500 million bond due to mature on December 1 and a €750 million bond due to mature on March 31 next year.

Vivendi is attempting to take over both Gameloft and another French games company, Ubisoft in a hostile takeover that has been strongly resisted by entrepreneur Yves Guillemot and his brothers, who run both companies.