Vivendi Offers to Buy Back, Redeem $2.7 Billion of Debt

Vivendi SA, the French conglomerate selling assets to cut debt and refocus on media businesses, will reimburse as much as $2.7 billion of U.S. dollar-denominated debt using part of the proceeds from its sale of Activision Blizzard Inc.

Vivendi said it started an offer today to purchase any and all of its outstanding $650 million of 3.450 percent notes due 2018, $700 million of 6.625 percent notes due 2018 and $800 million 4.750 percent notes due 2022. The Paris-based company will also redeem all of its $550 million 2.40 percent notes due 2015.

Activision, a video game publisher based in Santa Monica, California, gained its independence in a $8.2 billion buyout last week after five years as a unit of Vivendi. Activision bought back $5.83 billion of stock from Vivendi, while a group led by the unit’s Chief Executive Officer Bobby Kotick paid $2.34 billion in the transaction.

Divesting Activision is part of Vivendi’s plans to overhaul its structure to boost its market valuation. The company, whose biggest shareholder is French billionaire Vincent Bollore, is also in exclusive talks to sell its stake in Maroc Telecom SA to Emirates Telecommunications Corp. The company is also studying how Vivendi’s remaining assets -- record label Universal Music Group Inc., pay-TV company Canal Plus and Brazilian Internet unit GVT -- will be structured as two separate entities.

Shares of Vivendi gained 3.5 percent to 18.95 euros at 5:00 p.m. in Paris. The stock has jumped 18 percent in the past 12 months, bringing the company’s market value to 25.4 billion euros ($34 billion).

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