Vivendi mulls sale of NBCU stake


Vivendi CEO Jean-Bernard Levy is going to keep everyone guessing for a while, telling an investment conference that the company will decide in the next two or three weeks whether to sell its 20% stake in NBC Universal. If the decision is sell, General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt is a ready buyer to make NBU Uni a 100% subsidiary of GE.

Speaking at a Morgan Stanley conference in Spain, Levy called the dividend flow from the NBCU investment “very good,” but he has indicated more than once that Vivendi does not plan to be a long-term investor in the business. The question is Vivendi’s view of the value of the investment and what it can sell it for, so that analysis is being done now. Also, Vivendi would want to have an idea of where it would like to invest the cash if it sells the NBCU stake.

Vivendi has until early December to decide whether to exercise its annual option, under which it could sell the 20% stake to GE or, if GE declines, trigger an IPO. The IPO option is pretty unlikely. Immelt recently told Bloomberg that GE would buy the rest of NBCU “in a heartbeat.”