KKR made takeover pass at Vivendi

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NEW YORK -- Entertainment and telecommunications company Vivendi over the weekend confirmed a recent takeover approach by private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., but emphasized that talks about a potential deal have ended.

Some reports said the proposed transaction would be the largest leveraged buyout in history. It wasn't immediately clear whether the talks were likely to resume at a later date.

Vivendi confirms having received and reviewed a friendly expression of interest from KKR, the company said in a statement issued Saturday. This review, which included maintaining the current Vivendi assets within the group in order to create value, did not result in any proposition and has now ended.

Media reports early on Saturday, led by The New York Times, said that KRR recently made a 40 billion euro ($51.10 billion) bid for Vivendi, but that talks broke off about a month ago. The reports cited tax and other complications that would have made a transaction less attractive as reasons for the end of the discussions.

The New York Times suggested that Vivendi initiated the talks with KKR, but the company didn't comment on that over the weekend. A Vivendi spokeswoman declined comment beyond the company statement.

The conglomerate earlier this year rejected an informal offer from Norwegian investment firm Sebastian Holdings, a that had expressed interest in buying the company and breaking it up, according to the Times, which suggested a breakup. Vivendi management, led by Jean-Bernard Levy, chairman of the management board and CEO, has argued the company's assets work well together in their current form.
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