Vivendi Rejects Studio Sale11/22/2002 7:34 AM Eastern
Top Vivendi Universal officials rejected a $15 billion bid for its
The bid, which was rejected by Vivendi as too small, was mounted by an
investor group that included Marvin Davis, the former owner of Paramount
Pictures, who made his money in the oil business.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission also launched a formal
investigation of Vivendi earlier this week.
Vivendi acknowledged earlier in November that the U.S. attorney's office for
the Southern District of New York had opened a preliminary criminal
investigation in conjunction with the SEC. At that time, the commission's
inquiry was informal.
Earlier this year, the Paris prosecutor's officer and the French equivalent
to the SEC, the Commission des Operations de Bourse, launched their own criminal
investigations into Vivendi in connection with possible misleading information
released by the company during the tenure of embattled former chairman Jean
In a press release late Tuesday, Vivendi said it intends to cooperate fully
with the SEC investigation.
Vivendi continues to try to sell assets to pare down its debts. The company
recently announced plans to sell $7 billion worth of assets by the end of this
year and a further $16 billion by the end of November 2004.
It has reportedly already lined up a buyer, state-owned Electricité de
France, for its Environmental group. Earlier plans to spin off those water and
waste-management assets triggered a controversy that helped to speed Messier's
departure from the company.
That sale, along with $1 billion in bonds recently issued by Vivendi, could
help the company in its battle with Vodafone Group for control of Groupe