French media group Vivendi is set to dispose of its £4.68 billion holding in UK satellite broadcaster BSkyB, ending its association with Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp.
Vivendi chairman Jean-Marie Messier had considered folding the 22.7% stake into Murdoch’ s consolidated digital TV venture Sky Global Networks [WAMN: 16-Oct-00]. However, concerns over EU scrutiny and a strained relationship with Murdoch have convinced him to sell the shares instead.
Commented Messier: “We always stated that we would not stay as a minority passive investor. Being an active partner of Murdoch is not easy. If you add the EU issue...it is just too complex to extract value”.
He added that he would not sell on the open market, but that Murdoch was not the only potential buyer. Instead, the shares will become “a currency” to expand Vivendi’s transatlantic media and communications interests.
News source: Financial Times