Vivendi could spin off its telecom businesses, focus on entertainment

French media and telecom giant Vivendi, already in the process of trimming businesses that are not core to its entertainment media business, could eventually trim the telecom part of its portfolio, an executive with the firm suggested during a conference call with analysts, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

In a busy week, Vivendi announced talks to sell its 53 percent stake in Maroc Telecom and a deal to sell most of its 61 percent stake in video game firm Activision Blizzard. Both deals are expected to bring in a total of $13.7 billion, which the company will use to pay down debt.

Those deals, however, may not be the end of things, said CFO Philippe Capron.

"One possibility, among others, is that we engineer a split of the company with (French telecom) SFR being taken out of the perimeter," Capron said.

This, the publication suggested, could be done via an IPO, reigniting an idea that sprang up a couple months ago when Jean-Yves Charlier was appointed SFR's CEO.

The second possibility that would pretty much seal up Vivendi as a media company sans telecom would be if it finally sold off Brazilian firm GVT, as has been suggested in the past. GVT was on and off the sales table in the past when bids didn't meet the company's expectations.

"The GVT process could be started again," Capron admitted. "That would leave us to start re-growing the group around (media plays) Universal Music and Canal (Plus.)"

Capron said that the firm does not "have any significant acquisitions" in the works right now and that, despite seemingly being related to the media business, Activision needed to be sold.

"We decided … we didn't have enough potential synergies with the rest of the group," Capron said that games divisions are not generally part of other company's media and entertainment businesses.

For more:
- The Hollywood Reporter carried this story

Related articles:
Vivendi pushes ahead with plan to offload Maroc Telecom
Vivendi picks telecoms chief Charlier to head France's SFR
Vivendi delays GVT sale after getting lowball offers

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