Bollore Adds Vivendi Shares After Capital Raising Dilutes StakeHeather Smith
French billionaire Vincent Bollore bought more shares in Vivendi SA to offset the impact of a recent capital raising on his stake in the Paris-based telecommunications and media company.
Bollore, who sits on Vivendi’s board, added 6.1 million euros ($8 million) of shares this month, according to filings today on the French financial-markets regulator’s website.
“These share purchases are intended to maintain Groupe Bollore’s stake in Vivendi slightly above 5 percent after a share capital increase related to Vivendi’s employee savings plan,” Vivendi said today in an e-mailed statement.
Bollore joined Vivendi’s supervisory committee in December, after selling Groupe Bollore’s television assets last year to Vivendi’s pay-TV unit, Canal Plus. The share-financed deal took his stake to 2.8 percent. It had been initiated in September 2011 under Jean-Bernard Levy, who was ousted from the chief executive post in June 2012. Vivendi Chairman Jean-Rene Fourtou has been overseeing the company’s strategy since then.
A spokesman for Bollore didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
Bollore “has not expressed a desire to take over my role as chairman immediately,” Fourtou said in April during Vivendi’s annual shareholder meeting. He added that it may become a topic “later on.”
In May 2012, Bollore said he has “great confidence” in Fourtou and Levy. “I think they will fix their problems.”
Vivendi fell 0.1 percent to 15.15 euros at 3:38 p.m. in Paris, valuing the company at 20 billion euros. The stock had lost 11 percent this year through yesterday.
Since Levy’s ouster, Fourtou, 74, hasn’t been able to see through asset sales and reiterated at Vivendi’s April meeting that disposals are still the company’s goal.
Attempts to divest Brazilian Internet operator GVT and a stake in game publisher Activision Blizzard Inc. have failed because of valuation differences or insufficient interest. Efforts to sell a majority stake in Maroc Telecom SA foundered last month when Qatar Telecom QSC, one of the two bidders who submitted binding offers, dropped out, citing how long the process was taking.
Bollore, 61, is Vivendi’s second-biggest shareholder. New York-based BlackRock Inc., the world’s largest asset manager, holds 5.7 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.