U.S. News

Vivendi Will Not Sell Stake in NBC


French media and telecom group Vivendi said it will not exercise its right to start disposing of a 20% holding in NBC Universal this January.

NBC Universal, which is controlled by General Electric is home to the NBC television network and the Universal Studios film unit.

Vivendi said its agreement with GE had been modified and that its liquidity right in the first year had been increased to $4 billion from $3 billion and would remain $4 billion each year thereafter.

Vivendi acquired the stake as part of a 2004 deal to sell Universal to GE and pay down its debts. Earlier this month, Vivendi said it did not see itself as a long-term holder of the NBC stake.

But the French company said on Thursday the timeline of its right to demand an initial public offering of NBC Universal and of GE's right to call Vivendi's interest had been extended.

"Vivendi's demand right can now be exercised in November each year from 2007 to 2016, with the closing at market value taking place over the following year," the French group said in a statement.

It added that the call option in GE's favour could now be exercised in May each year from 2011 to 2017 with a floor price of $8.3 billion, which would increase each year from May 2009 based on the U.S. Consumer Price index.