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Vivendi (EPA: VIV) is in talks to acquire the remaining part of French telecom provider Neuf Cegetel it doesn’t own, according to a statement Neuf made to the Paris stock exchange. Vivendi’s French mobile-phone unit, SFR (which is 44 percent owned by Vodafone), owns about 40.5 percent of Neuf, the country’s second-biggest broadband provider; French trading group Louis Dreyfus is the other major shareholder, with 29.5 percent. Neuf was born out of France’s deregulation of the telecom market in the late 1990s, which ended the France Telecom (NYSE: FTE) monopoly. Neuf and its main rival, Iliad, have grown significantly since then, mainly on the strength of their triple-play bundles of voice, video and internet services.
WSJ: “For Vivendi, acquiring the rest of Neuf would cement its position as a player in mobile, fixed, and broadband services, and would allow it new ways to sell products from its Universal Music Group unit and movies from its pay-TV platform Canal Plus.”