Friday, 16 October 2009


[11.00 - French Time] Paris is the focus of America's attention, and in a less negative way than usual, because of the prospect of a deal between Comcast - the largest cable operator in the United States - and media and entertainment giant NBC Universal. Wall Street and Hollywoodland await that French media company Vivendi sells its 20% stake in NBC Uni.

Observers and players expected an announcement from the Vivendi board meeting on October 14 but the main subject of discussion was Brazilian telco operator GVT. In September Vivendi signed an agreement with the founding and countrolling shareholders of GVT for a strategic telecommunications partnership in Brazil, Vivendi launching an amicable tender offer on the Brazilian ( But at the beginning of this month, Spanish telecom group Telefonica made a higher offer.

Now there are speculations that Vivendi will top Telefonica and GVT climbed to a record in Sao Paulo trading ( What about the 20% NBC Uni share of Vivendi, then? The French company is said to hold off on its awaited decision in order to concentrate on GVT (

Rien ne sert de courir. They have no need to hurry: the three-week window during which Vivendi has to inform General Electric (owner of 80% of NBC Universal) whether it will exercise an option to sell its interest in NBC Universal opens only on November 15 ( With a consolidation movement in the media industry and the relevance of the interest of Comcast over NBC Universal, Vivendi certainly wants to get what they consider the right price for their stake.

While there is a class action trial in New York around the era of former Vivendi boss Jean-Marie Messier ( it is not unreasonable to think that optimum conditions for a sale of their 20% stake would contribute to help them to turn the Messier page definitively. And we could ask ourselves what eventual effects the NBC Uni stake sale woud have on the trading of the GVT share if concluded before Vivendi could finalize its projects with the Brazilian company.

In the meantime why observers and specialists eagerly wait for a Vivendi decision is understandable: they would like to have something more exciting to analyze and comment than NBC's drama lineup, even with a lesbian storyline in Heroes.

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