Vivendi Looking to Sell 61 Percent Stake in Activision (Report)

2:11 AM PST 07/02/2012 by Georg Szalai

After the ouster of the conglomerate's CEO, its chairman has expressed support for the strategy of its Universal Music arm though.

Vivendi is looking to sell its 61 percent stake in video game maker Activision Blizzard, but chairman Jean-Rene Fourtou has expressed his commitment to Universal Music Group's strategy, Bloomberg News reported.

Last week, long-time Vivendi CEO Jean-Bernard Levy was pushed out as Fourtou and others on the board want to follow investor calls for divestitures by the company, which also owns French pay TV provider Canal+ and telecom assets in France, Morocco and Brazil, or even a possible break-up.

Should no buyer be found for the Activision stake, which is worth around $8.1 billion, Vivendi plans to sell some of its shares in the market, according to Bloomberg. An Activision spokeswoman had no comment, it said.

Critics have said that Vivendi's stock is trading at a discount of up to 40 percent due to its conglomerate structure. The stock recently hit a nine-year low, but it rose nearly 9 percent since Levy’s departure.

In a note to Universal Music employees obtained by Bloomberg, UMG CEO Lucian Grainge said Fourtou told him in a meeting that the chairman supports the "strategic ambitions" of the world’s largest music company. That includes his support for the proposed 1.2 billion pound ($1.9 billion) takeover of EMI Group’s recorded music unit, which regulators are still reviewing.

"Mr. Fourtou, I am glad to say, is an enthusiastic music fan," Grainge said.
 

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