Vivendi keeps stake in NBC Uni

Terms modified, but French firm will retain its 20%

Contrary to speculation, Vivendi said Thursday that it has decided against selling its remaining 20% stake in NBC Universal, though it did announce modified terms of its holdings.

The Paris-based company, which once had majority control of Universal Studios before selling most of its interest to General Electric, maintains a right to demand an initial public offering of NBC Universal. GE keeps its right to call Vivendi's interest in NBC Uni.

Also, the timeline on those respective rights has been extended, officials said.

Vivendi now will be able to demand an IPO during any November until 2016, and GE will be able to exercise a call option on Vivendi's interest each May through 2017.

The new terms also maintain an annual floor price on Vivendi's NBC Uni stake valuation of $8.3 billion, and they boost from $3 million to $4 million how much Vivendi can reap from a sale of shares in any year.

The earliest Vivendi could now signal its intent to cash out is November, but such a transaction could not be executed until 2008. The most it could reap from the sale in '08 would be $4 million.

On Thursday, GE shares rose 71 cents, or 2%, to close at $36.21.
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