Paris-headquartered global media giant Vivendi Universal said Thursday it will proceed immediately with the sale of its $1.5 billion stake in BSky, the satellite TV group controlled by Rupert Murdoch.

The move – long mooted – represents some eight per cent of BSkyB’s equity and gives rise to speculation that Vivendi is poised to make a major acquisition. Vivendi-watchers believe this could be the purchase of USA Networks’ cable TV and moviemaking interests [WAMN: 12-Dec-01].

Vivendi, however, refused to be drawn as to the use of the cash realised by the sale. In a textbook equivocation, it conceded only that the moolah would provide “room to manoeuvre which will enable us to cover any eventual needs from different opportunities for strategic partnerships in television and US distribution which may or may not come to fruition.”

News source: Financial Times