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Vivendi in Talks to Dispose of Universal Music Assets, CFO Says

Jean-Bernard Levy, chief executive officer of Vivendi SA, right, and Philippe Capron, chief financial officer of Vivendi SA. Photographer: Fabrice Dimier/Bloomberg
Jean-Bernard Levy, chief executive officer of Vivendi SA, right, and Philippe Capron, chief financial officer of Vivendi SA. Photographer: Fabrice Dimier/Bloomberg

March 1 (Bloomberg) -- Vivendi SA is in talks with potential buyers of Universal Music Group assets destined to finance the purchase of EMI Group’s recorded music unit, Chief Financial Officer Philippe Capron said today.

Vivendi, which said in November it would look at selling 500 million euros ($666 million) worth of assets, plans to wrap up these divestments by the second half of 2012, Capron said after the Paris-based company’s annual earnings press conference.

“We want to get this done by the time regulators give their verdict on the Universal Music and EMI transaction,” Capron said.

Universal Music, Vivendi’s music unit, agreed to buy EMI’s recorded music operations in November for 1.2 billion pounds ($1.9 billion). The European Commission has set an initial deadline of March 23 to rule on the deal, which is also being scrutinized by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

Chief Executive Officer Jean-Bernard Levy said today he expects a regulatory decision in the second half of 2012.

Levy has been orienting Vivendi more toward the music and television businesses, as French telecommunications unit SFR comes under pressure from increased competition.

Vivendi shares tumbled as much as 9.4 percent today in Paris trading after the company forecast a profit slump through 2013. It said SFR is looking to cut costs to cope with falling prices and revenue after new competitor Iliad SA started a mobile service at a discounted price in January.

To contact the reporter on this story: Marie Mawad in Paris at mmawad1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at kwong11@bloomberg.net

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