Vivendi accepts Numericable-SFR, Altice telecoms offer as profits rise

DetailsEditor | 28 February 2015

The long, drawn-out saga of Vivendi's retreat from being a total entertainment and telecoms service provider has reached the end game after the firm confirmed that it would complete its divestment of part ownership of French telco SFR.

VivendiAfter review by its Management Board, Vivendi's Supervisory Board has given the green light to accept the offer of Numericable- SFR and Altice to purchase Vivendi's 20% interest in the telecommunications operator. Vivendi says that the transaction enables it to complete the divestment of SFR under financial conditions that result in it receiving, with respect to these shares, a premium of 20% over the closing price for the shares on November 27, 2014, the date the sale of SFR was completed. It also noted that a low level of liquidity in the Numericable-SFR shares would make a future exit under optimal conditions uncertain.

The move, which means that Vivendi will concentrate on being on being a media and entertainment firm, is good news for shareholders for whom the sale represents a return of €2billion.In addition to this distribution, Vivendi plans a share buyback programme for approximately €2.7 billion running over a period of 18 months. The company calculates that in total the return to shareholders could reach approximately €5.7 billion by mid-2017 in addition to the €1.3 billion paid in 2014.

The sale came as Vivendi announced its results for the 2014 financial year ending 31 December. Revenues slipped 1.6% compared with 2013 to €10.089 billion, but EBITDA increased 15.6% to €736 million, fuelled by the divestments in the year.