Vivendi SA (VIV), Europe’s biggest media and telecommunications company, hired Rothschild and Deutsche Bank AG to study strategic options for its Brazilian phone operator GVT, said two people familiar with the matter.
Vivendi may sell the company, or a stake, or propose an initial public offering, said one of the people, who asked not to be named because the plans are private.
GVT, which Vivendi acquired for $4.18 billion in 2009 after trumping a bid from Spain’s Telefonica SA (TEF), has helped drive revenue growth at the Paris-based media company and may be worth 5.2 billion euros ($6.4 billion), according to estimates in April by Morgan Stanley.
Vivendi is re-evaluating its businesses as Chairman Jean- Rene Fourtou looks to overhaul the company’s structure and restore investor confidence after the stock fell to a nine-year low in April. Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings have said that Vivendi’s debt rating may be cut unless it reduces liabilities.
Jean-Louis Erneux, a Vivendi spokesman, said the company “never comments on rumors on its different businesses.” Representatives for Deutsche Bank and Rothschild declined to comment.
Fourtou said last month in an interview that he was seeking a buyer for Vivendi’s stake in video-game maker Activision Blizzard Inc. (ATVI:US) Vivendi may sell the stake to Activision after finding little interest from potential buyers, according to another person familiar with the matter.
Fourtou has taken over overseeing strategy since Chief Executive Officer Jean-Bernard Levy was ousted in June. The Vivendi Chairman is interested in exploring a de-emphasis of the group’s telecommunications businesses, which he believes require too much investment to be successful and lack scale, people familiar with the matter said in June.
To contact the reporters on this story: Serena Saitto in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org; Cristiane Lucchesi in Sao Paulo at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jeffrey McCracken at firstname.lastname@example.org