Bollore to replace Fourtou as Vivendi Chairman after spin-off of phone unit

By Rizza Sta. Ana

Nov 27, 2013 05:58 AM EST

According to a report by Bloomberg, Vivendi SA shareholder Vincent Bollore will be appointed as the new chairman as Jean-Rene Fourtou exits from his post after the separation of Vivendi's media assets and telecommunications business will be completed. The spin-off of the telecommunications business was approved by the supervisory board of Vivendi yesterday.

The Paris-based company said in a statement that a distribution of shares of its SFR mobile-phone unit could happen due to the spin-off. Hearst Magazines International's managing director for Western Europe, was reported to join Vivendi early next year to lead the company's media and content businesses.

Bloomberg said in its report that Vivendi would be entering a new phase of its reorganization efforts after divesting some of its assets. Its recent divestments including interests in Maroc Telecom SA and Activision Blizzard Inc. SFR contributed around 47% of the total revenue of Vivendi in the first none months of this year, the report said. In comparison to Rupert Murdoch's spin off his publishing unit from the rest of his media empire News Corp, Vivendi will be left with pay-TV unit Canal Plus, Universal Music Group and Brazilian broadband provider GVT.

Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Claudio Aspesi said about the spin-off, "Investors will have to make two decisions: one is if they want to continue to hold both stocks. With the de-merger, SFR becomes a potentially attractive acquisition target, so I think that probably the share price will have upside. And on the other side, on the media side obviously investors will be most focused what happens for divestitures."

Vivendi has plans to provide details of its SFR spin-off to regulatory authorities and works councils. The company's proposal will be put to shareholders at the company's annual meeting in June next year. Until the spin-off will be completed, the management board will have Jean-Francois Dubos and include Chairman and CEO of SFR Jean-Yves Charlier and de Puyfontaine.

After selling his television assets to Vivendi, Bollore joined the company's supervisory committee in December. Shareholders of the company had been clamoring for Bollore to join the board as early as April 2012. Bollore currently owns 5% of Vivendi.

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