Vivendi Repels Shareholder's Break-Up Plan

18 May 2006

Sebastian Holdings, one of the largest shareholders in French media and music conglomerate Vivendi, this week retired temporarily from its attempt to force a break-up of the company.

Few believe the withdrawal to be anything other than a tactical regrouping before Sebastian again tries to acquire the company and dispose of its cellphone, music and pay-TV units.

Speaking Wednesday with analysts, Vivendi ceo Jean-Bernard Levy admitted that Sebastian - also a major shareholder in Havas - had submitted a preliminary proposal to dismember the company.

He described this as a "working document" that didn't constitute an offer and which had been rejected by the board on grounds that it was "unclear" and the financing "sketchy".

Vivendi's revelation coincided with the posting of net profit for 2005, up 41% to €707 million ($899.45m; £477.9m) from €501m a year ago, boosted by strong growth at its music and games businesses. Sales rose 5.7% to €4.77 billion.

The company also released its outlook for 2006, predicting 11.7% growth in adjusted net income in first quarter of 2006. Adjusted net income growth guidance was revised upwards to 16%, approximately €2.4bn.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff