Vivendi to sell Numericable-SFR stake?

French media giant Vivendi says it has received a “binding offer” from Altice and Numericable-SFR for its remaining 20 per cent stake in Numericable-SFR, at a price of €40 a share, and equivalent to €3.9 billion.

Vivendi’s Supervisory Board will make a decision on February 27th.

However, the price on offer is almost 25 per cent lower than Vivendi’s current share price, and the stake is considered by analysts to be worth some €4.8 billion, and the stake could even be worth €5.4 billion according to investment bankers Exane BNP-Paribas. The bank, in a note to clients on February 18 says “It is hard to understand the benefit of such an offer to Vivendi”.

The bank says it expects the offer to be rejected, but that an improved offer could follow as this but Round 1 in what could be a series of discussions between the two groups as they attempt to place a real value on the stake.

Altice says that Numericable-SFR, will acquire half of Vivendi’s stake through a share buyback programme which would be submitted to a vote at a general assembly of Numericable-SFR shareholders. Half will be acquired by Altice France at the same time, with a payment to be made no later than April 7th 2016 and subject to an interest of 3.8 per cent per annum.

The payment by Altice France of approximately € 1.948 billion plus interest of 3.8 per cent per annum has been secured by a bank guarantee.

The Numericable-SFR purchase and the Altice purchase will both close in the days following the Numericable-SFR General Assembly Meeting, which would be held no later than April 30th 2015.

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