Vivendi Says It Will Consider Split, Names Largest Shareholder Vice Chair

Vincent Bollore Headshot - P 2013
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Vincent Bollore Headshot - P 2013

The firm said its core would form "a new international media group based in France" with positions in music worldwide, the Internet and related services in Brazil, European cinema, as well as pay TV.

French conglomerate Vivendi said late Wednesday that it has named its largest shareholder, Vincent Bollore, vice chairman and that its board would study a plan to split French telecom firm SFR from the rest of its businesses, mostly in media and entertainment.

Vivendi described the planned core firm as "a new international media group based in France with very strong positions in music worldwide (where it is the undisputed leader), the Internet and associated services in Brazil, European cinema, as well as in pay television in France, Africa, Poland and Vietnam."

Said Vivendi: "At a time when the increasing number of platforms and global distribution generate strong content demand, the group is aiming to develop in media on the basis of several growth activities."

Meanwhile, SFR "would gain greater freedom on strategy and developing partnerships" after a split, the conglomerate said.

The final decision regarding the split could come at the beginning of next year, according to the company.

It said it would "create significant value to shareholders" as they would have the opportunity to invest in two differentiated firms.

Vivendi chairman Jean-Rene Fourtou on Wednesday also announced the appointment of Bollore, who owns a 5 percent stake in Vivendi, to the vice chair role. "Vincent Bollore thanked and paid tribute to Mr. Fourtou and guaranteed him his full support," the company said.

The two men had been engaged in a showdown over the company's next CEO.

Twitter: @georgszalai