Vivendi to spin off SFR

Vivendi has confirmed its plan to split in two. The French group is to spin off its SFR telecommunications company and list it separately on the stock market. “This plan could take the form of a distribution of SFR shares to Vivendi shareholders on the day of the transaction,” the company said.

Vivendi, which owns Universal Music Group, the Canal Plus pay-TV network and GVT, a Brazilian telco, also confirmed that Vincent Bolloré would become its chairman following the split. Bolloré, who heads his own Bolloré industrial group and is Vivendi’s biggest shareholder with a 5 per cent stake, will replace Jean-Rene Fourtou.

Meanwhile Arnaud de Puyfontaine, chief executive of Hearst Magazines UK, will join Vivendi early next year as its senior executive vice-president responsible for media and content.

The appointment suggests that de Puyfontaine could become a central figure in the media and content side of Vivendi following the spin-off of SFR. The telecoms company last year accounted for about 30 per cent of the group’s €5.4 billion operating profit.

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