Vivendi In Play?
French conglomerate Vivendi, which nearly collapsed under the weight of debt after it acquired Seagram's entertainment assets for $30 billion in 2000, is now considering selling itself, published reports indicated over the weekend. Reuters reported that Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. had approached Vivendi with an offer to buy the company for $51 billion but that the talks got nowhere. The New York Times reported on Saturday that the talks appeared to have stalled -- even though the offer was reportedly the biggest of its kind in history. Today's (Monday) issue of the Times, citing people involved in the talks, reported that it was Vivendi that invited KKR to make an offer, "opening the possibility that the company could welcome discussions with other suitors." Vivendi, which sold 80 percent of its stake in Universal Pictures to GE two years ago, retained ownership of Universal Music, the world's leading record company, and the French film and satellite TV company Canal Plus. It also owns the French mobile phone company SFR.