Vivendi board approves spin off of SFR telecom

26th November 2013, Comments 0 comments

Vivendi's board approved Tuesday a plan to spin off its Internet and mobile phone unit SFR to allow the French company, which owns Universal Music, to focus on media and content.

The supervisory board unanimously approved the "demerger" plan, which it said could take place by issuing to shareholders new shares for SFR.

"In this way, Vivendi aims to become an international media group, bringing together strong brands in the production and distribution of original content," said the company, which also owns the premium pay-TV service Canal+.

"This group would fully respond to the new ways of consuming digital media in music and video, and would pursue its development in fast-growing markets," it added.

The plan, which still has to be submitted to works councils and regulatory authorities, would also give SFR greater strategic autonomy, it said.

The restructuring will also see the current supervisory board chairman Jean-Rene Fourtou replaced by Vincent Bollore, a businessman who owns some 5 percent of Vivendi.

Vivendi announced earlier this month its third quarter net profit fell 23.7 percent to 376 million euros ($510 million) on stable sales of 5.3 billion euros.

The group expects its net debt to drop from 16.4 billion euros to 7.2 billion after the sales of an 88-percent stake in video game maker Activision Blizzard and a 53-percent stake in Maroc Telecom are completed.

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© 2013 AFP

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