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Thursday April 7, 2011


Vivendi to Purchase Vodafone Stake in SFR for 7.95 Billion Euros

April 03, 2011, 4:50 PM EDT

By Matthew Campbell

April 3 (Bloomberg) -- Vivendi SA said it agreed to purchase Vodafone Group Plc’s 44% stake in SFR for 7.95 billion euros ($11.3 billion), giving the French company full control of its largest unit.

Vivendi expects the deal to be completed by the end of June, and that SFR and Vodafone will extend their commercial co- operation for three years, it said in a statement today.

SFR accounted for almost 12.6 billion euros of Vivendi’s sales last year, or about 43 percent of the total. For Vodafone, the SFR sale is the third major disposal of a minority asset by Chief Executive Officer Vittorio Colao, after the company sold its 3.2 percent stake in China Mobile Ltd. in September for $6.5 billion, and a 3.1 billion-pound ($5 billion) interest in Japan’s Softbank Corp. in November.

Last year, Vivendi Chief Executive Officer Jean-Bernard Levy failed to reach an agreement to take full control of another domestic asset, pay-television provider Canal Plus France, after publisher Lagardere SCA said it would begin an initial public offering for its 20 percent stake.

Vivendi gained $5.8 billion from the sale of its 20 percent share of NBC Universal to General Electric Co., which in turn shifted control of the media group to cable-TV provider Comcast Corp.

Colao has also pursued mergers to squeeze profit from existing operations. In 2009, he merged an Australian unit with Hutchison Telecommunications Ltd.’s operation in that country, where growth prospects are slim. Under Colao’s predecessor Arun Sarin, Vodafone entered markets such as India and Turkey to make up for a slowdown in Europe.

--Editors: Ben Livesey, John Simpson

To contact the reporter on this story: Matthew Campbell in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Vidya Root at;

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