Bollore Boosts Vivendi Stake to 12% Amid Clash With Investor

Vivendi SA Chairman Vincent Bollore
Vincent Bollore, Chairman of Groupe Bollore. Photographer: Marlene Awaad/Bloomberg

Vivendi SA Chairman Vincent Bollore boosted his holding in the company to 12 percent, the second increase within a week amid a clash with Wall Street activist investor Peter Schoenfeld.

The French billionaire raised his stake to 12.01 percent from 10.2 percent, according to an e-mailed statement Thursday from his holding company Groupe Bollore. That stake has a market value of about 3.8 billion euros ($4.1 billion). Last week, the businessman reported an increase in his holding in the Paris-based music and television company from 8.15 percent.

The 62-year-old is at the center of questions about how Vivendi plans to spend its cash pile after disposing of more than $30 billion of telecommunications assets to refocus on media. Bollore, which has hinted at acquisitions, is facing calls by Schoenfeld, the founder of New York-based hedge fund P. Schoenfeld Asset Management LP, to return 9 billion euros to shareholders.

P. Schoenfeld Asset Management, with a 0.8 percent stake in Vivendi, is among investors who have submitted proposals for the company’s April 17 shareholder meeting. Investors are set to vote on Vivendi’s own cash use plan, as well as Schoenfeld’s. Bollore has urged shareholders to reject Schoenfeld’s proposal.

Bollore has steadily increased his influence over Vivendi since he traded his TV channels for shares of the media company and became an investor in 2012. He is France’s ninth-richest person with a net worth of about $6.1 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

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