Vivendi (EPA: VIV) would be amenable to a flotation of NBCU Universal on the NYSE, as possible future configurations for the TV JV work their way out.
“Why not?,” Vivendi CEO Jean-Bernard Lévy said during a keynote Q&A at C&binet, a creative industries gathering organized by the UK government in London on Tuesday.
“It’s part of the thinking we had back in 2003 when we created NBCU. One way for Vivendi to exit would be through a flotation on the stock market and maybe that’s what will happen.”Which market, Lévy was asked? “I guess it would obviously be in New York.” But he didn’t elaborate on exactly what configuration an IPO might take.
NBCU is owned 80 percent by GE’s NBC and 20 percent by the French media conglomerate, which also operates Universal Music Group and World Of Warcraft publisher Activision-Blizzard.
But NBCU’s Q3 revenues dropped 20 percent to $4 billion on falling broadcast sales and Vivendi wants to exit as planned to concentrate on its own assets. “It will be good for Vivendi to own 100 percent of its French-based businesses,” Lévy said, referring to pay-TV platform Canal+ and telco SFR.
Reports have linked GE with Comcast (NSDQ: CMCSA), Liberty Media (NSDQ: LINTA) and News Corp (NYSE: NWS) talks. GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt has previously mooted an IPO as one option.