Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.’s attempt to force Vivendi Universal’s hand in the
auction for the French conglomerate’s U.S. entertainment assets backfired, with
sources confirming reports that Vivendi had rejected the studio’s bid.
But that doesn’t mean MGM is out of the bidding altogether if it’s willing to
up its price.
"I wouldn’t count them out," one source close to Vivendi said. "What Vivendi
said was that it was not a sufficient bid based on the criteria that had been
put forth by the board of directors. It didn’t meet the guidelines, which means,
MGM bid $11.5 billion for the assets -- collectively called Vivendi Universal
Entertainment -- or about $300 million more than it bid in the first round, the
source familiar with Vivendi said.
Sources familiar with Vivendi said MGM chairman Alex Yemenidjian wrote to
Vivendi chief operating officer Jean-Bernard Levy saying that MGM would bid more
only if Vivendi would provide the studio with more detailed information.
MGM wanted the data -- including more detailed information regarding carriage
agreements for VUE’s cable networks -- by July 21 or it would drop out of the
A spokesman from MGM did not return a phone call for comment. Vivendi
declined to comment.
Vivendi is said to have replied that it would consider releasing some
financial information on VUE, possibly by July 21. Just what that might include
wasn’t clear. Vivendi was concerned some of the data included highly sensitive
competitive information about its film business.