Vivendi Denies Report It’s Considering Acquisition of Sky TV

Vivendi SA, the French media company, denied a published report that it may seek to acquire pay-TV provider Sky Plc.

A Vivendi representative disputed the Reuters report saying the Paris-based company was looking at Sky as one of several options to expand its own TV business Canal Plus.

Citing people familiar with the matter, Reuters reported Vivendi was mulling the transaction after reviewing smaller would-be targets in Turkey and elsewhere in Europe. Sky, which is based in Middlesex, U.K., could cost as much as 28 billion pounds ($41.5 billion), including debt, Reuters reported.

Vivendi has been pressured by activist investor Peter Schoenfeld to do more to eke out shareholder returns from its 18 billion euro cash hoard. The founder of P. Schoenfeld Asset Management has urged 9 billion euros in payouts and the sale of the Universal Music Group unit.

Acquiring Sky would help Vivendi build a pan-Europe pay-TV business, according to Reuters.

Robin Tozer, a spokesman for Sky in London, declined to comment, as did Julie Henderson a spokeswoman for Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox Inc., which owns almost 40 percent of Sky.

Vivendi on Tuesday announced it was going into exclusive talks to buy control of Orange SA’s video service Dailymotion, a smaller YouTube rival, for 217 million euros.

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