Vivendi SA (0.4%) (VIV
) (VIV - $24.47 - NYSE) is a French media and telecommunications holding company in the late stages of a decade long transition. In April 2014, the company announced it had reached an agreement to sell its French wireless operation, SFR, to French cable operator Numericable. Over the last year, the company also sold most of its 62% stake in Activision Blizzard and reached an agreement to sell its entire 53% stake in Maroc Telecom SA. After closing the SFR sale in early 2015, Vivendi will be a more focused media firm, consisting of Canal+ (a Francophone focused pay television network owner and distributor), Universal Music Group (UMG), the number one recording music company and number two music publishing entity in the world, and GVT, a fast growing Brazilian broadband and pay television provider. We expect GVT to eventually be sold and would not dismiss the possibility of a breakup of Canal+ and UMG. While operating conditions have been challenging in most of Vivendi’s businesses, it appears their trajectory is finally turning more positive and should be supported by a healthier balance sheet after the SFR, Activision and Maroc disposals.
From Mario Gabelli
)’s The Gabelli Asset Fund Second Quarter 2014 Shareholder Commentary