In the aftermath of the ego-driven acquisitive frenzy of former chairman/ceo Jean-Marie Messier, Vivendi Universal is to bolster its cash reserves through a €3.5 billion ($3.7bn; £2.4bn) refinancing scheme.

The media mammoth recently acquired a controlling interest in French telecom group Cegetel to fend off a takeover ploy by Vodafone, putting further strain on its liquid assets [WAMN: 04-Dec-02].

It will raise the new cash via a €2.5bn bank loan and a €1bn bond issue. These are unlikely to come cheap, given Vivendi’s poor credit rating.

The media giant, which currently owes around €16bn, hopes to claw back an investment-grade rating (a sign of financial credibility) in the first half of next year.

Data sourced from: Times Online (UK); additional content by WARC staff