Vivendi to return 5 billion euros to shareholders after asset sales
Send a link to a friend
[April 25, 2014]
By Leila Abboud
PARIS (Reuters) — French conglomerate
Vivendi <VIV.PA> said it would pay out close to 5 billion euros in
dividends and buy backs this year and next, rewarding shareholders
after three major asset sales including that of its biggest unit,
telecom operator SFR.
The plan, which will be put to a vote at a June 24 shareholder
meeting, caps Vivendi's two year-old strategy overhaul to cut
exposure to capital-intensive telecoms activities and focus on
media. It has already sold video games maker Activision Blizzard <ATVI.O>
and is soon to close a sale of Maroc Telecom <IAM.CS> to Gulf
operator Etisalat <ETEL.AD>.
The board proposed to spend 1.34 billion on dividends this year,
offering 1 euro per share, with 0.50 euros attributed to the 2013
performance and 0.50 euros as extra payout. The payment would take
place on June 30 and is stable from last year's dividend.
After the 17 billion euro sale of SFR to French cable operator
Numericable <NUME.PA> closes, Vivendi pledged to return "a
significant part of the available cash" or 3.5 billion euros in
dividends or share buy backs. The deal must be reviewed by antitrust
regulators in France and may close by year-end.
Vivendi also confirmed that tycoon Vincent Bollore, the
second-largest shareholder with 5 percent, will take over as
chairman once veteran Jean-Rene Fourtou steps aside.
[to top of second column]
The renewal of two board members and addition of two new members,
Philippe Bénacin, CEO of Interparfums, and Virginie Morgon, deputy
CEO of Eurazeo, will also be put up to shareholder vote on June 24.
Vivendi shares closed up 1 percent to 20.13 euros on Thursday.
Vivendi stock price has risen more than 4 percent this year so far,
versus a 3 percent decline in the European media index <.SXMP>.
(Editing by Sophie Walker)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.