Vivendi Gets Disappointing Bids for Publishing Unit

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Vivendi Universal (V ) received lower-than-expected offers for its publishing unit. Three large bidding groups put in bids of less than $3 billion for Vivendi Universal Publishing, which includes Houghton-Mifflin as well as a number of French reference and educational publishers, less than original expectations for bids of more than $3.5 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal. The disappointing bids come as the French conglomerate prepares for a possible battle for its Cegetel phone unit. Last week, Vodafone Group (VOD ), which owns 15% of Cegetel, offered more than €13 billion ($12.64 billion) to buy out Vivendi and Cegetel's two other shareholders, BT Group PLC (BTY ) and SBC Communications (SBC ). (10/22)

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