Vivendi Gambles with BSkyB Stock, Unveils H1 Results

26 September 2001

Paris-headquartered media conglomerate Vivendi Universal, long eager to unload its 23% stake in Rupert Murdoch's UK satellite operation BSkyB, yesterday found a quasi buyer in Deutsche Bank.

In effect, Vivendi is using the stake as collateral for a loan of E4.2 billion to fund a complex manoeuvre in which it will gamble on an increase in BSkyB’s share price by the year end. If this hits £6.50 Vivendia will clear a cool E2.6bn on its punt.

BSkyB for its part is mightily relieved that such a substantial block of its shares has not been dumped on the market under the current volatile conditions. Following the news, the broadcaster's stock price closed up 2.8% at £6.18 in London last night.

Also on Tuesday, Vivendi confounded the Jonahs with the announcement of its first half results – posting an increase in core earnings of 42 per cent. The media giant is now well on course to meet its year-on-year revenue growth target of 35%.

News source: Financial Times