Vivendi's BollorÃ© Raises The Stakes In Fight Over Universal Music
April 2, 2015 at 4:00 AM (PT)
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL reports, "VINCENT BOLLORÉ boosted his stake in VIVENDI SA [The parent company of UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP] for the third time in a month as a public quarrel with its shareholder P. SCHOENFELD ASSET MANAGEMENT LP is heating up. Groupe Bolloré, the conglomerate controlled by Mr. BOLLORÉ, said THURSDAY it has increased its stake in VIVENDI to 12.01% from 10.2% after purchasing 24.6 million more shares for a total of eu568 million ($615 million)."
The move happens after VIVENDI issued a statement in reaction to a press report about a potential challenge to its strategy from U.S. hedge fund PSAM reaffirming that its UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP unit is not for sale and that the company was set on creating a global industrial content and media group, reports REUTERS. (NET NEWS 3/23). "The press today cites the request from an activist AMERICAN HEDGE FUND, P. SCHOENFELD ASSET MANAGEMENT (PSAM), which owns slightly less than 1% of the share capital, to increase the dividend to be paid to shareholders," the statement said. "In fact, the VIVENDI Management Board confirms it received a letter on the 22nd DECEMBER last year from PSAM, asking for the sale of UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP (UMG)."
The JOURNAL notes, "VIVENDI has been fighting back. The French owner of pay TV group CANAL PLUS and UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP argues that PSAM, which owns 0.8% in VIVENDI, wants to dismantle the company and is urging shareholders not to vote for PSAM’s resolutions. Mr. BOLLORÉ, who took over the chairmanship of VIVENDI last JUNE and is also VIVENDI’s largest individual shareholder, has more than doubled his holding in VIVENDI over the past month."