Vivendi to Act on Strategic Review in Coming Quarters, CFO Says

Vivendi SA is preparing to act on its strategic review in coming quarters as it looks at ways to boost the depressed stock price, according to Chief Financial Officer Philippe Capron.

“If we didn’t do anything the stock would plunge again,” Capron said today in Barcelona at a conference organized by Morgan Stanley. “Investors would be disappointed after all that talk about nothing being taboo.”

The company has spent the last six months exploring everything from share buybacks to divestments to restructuring divisions after its shares lost almost half their value in the past five years. Capron said that Paris-based Vivendi has no firm timeline to complete the review.

Vivendi said yesterday that profit will fall less than it expected this year as cost cuts and video-game demand bolster earnings as Chairman Jean-Rene Fourtou weighs strategy options. Jean-Bernard Levy was removed as chief executive officer at the end of June.

The company is a combination of assets including French phone company SFR, broadcaster Canal Plus, game maker Activision Blizzard Inc. and Universal Music Group. Cost reductions are taking hold at SFR, which is revamping phone packages and becoming leaner to fight Iliad SA, which entered the market in January with discounted offers. Activision is boosting sales with games including “Diablo III.”

“We may not be the best owner for all our assets or the best simultaneous owner for all of our assets,” Capron said today. “Vivendi has been the product of history at least as much as design and in a way that’s what we’re trying to remedy.”

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