Vivendi Appoints Executives In Strategic Review Of Media And Telecoms Businesses

French media conglomerate Vivendi is stepping up a strategic review of its businesses as it decides whether to sell or spin off some of its assets. Chairman Jean-René Fourtou has appointed executives to help reassess the company’s structure including Canal Plus chairman Bertrand Meheut, who will conduct a study on the development of media and content. Along with leading French pay-TV Canal Plus, Vivendi owns the Universal Music Group and a controlling stake in game maker Activision Blizzard. Jean-Yves Charlier, formerly the CEO of interactive education developer Promethean and a longtime telecom exec, will leave Vivendi’s supervisory board to join the company as senior exec VP in charge of telecoms activities. He will be involved in a strategic review of the company’s SFR, GVT and Maroc Telecom businesses. Vivendi is consulting with bankers on ways to raise money from such assets as Activision and GVT, according to The Financial Times, but it could also split its media and telecoms groups into two distinct companies. Similar to News Corp prior its decision to divide into two entities, Vivendi has met with investor criticism over what’s known as the conglomerate discount – the difference between what a company’s holdings are worth and the real value the market places on the whole. In June, longtime Vivendi CEO, Jean-Bernard Levy, left the company following calls for him to address the media giant’s low valuation and amid what were understood to be increasing disagreements over strategy. At the time, Vivendi’s stock price was down 18%, but its shares are up 12% since Levy’s departure.

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