Vivendi’s Levy stays mum on plans for NBC Universal stake

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Vivendi Chairman and Chief Executive Jean-Bernard Levy declined to say what the French conglomerate will do with its 20% stake in General Electric Co.'s NBC Universal.

‘This is not something we should decide now,’ Levy said at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference in New York.


Levy said that the window for the company to trigger its option on whether to keep its stake in NBC Universal or exit opens in two months and that until then the company is keeping quiet.

If Vivendi does decide to exercise its option, GE would have the right to buy Vivendi’s stake. If GE declines, then Vivendi could spin it off to the public. That deal is in place until 2016.

Last year, the weak economy made it a less than ideal time for Vivendi to unload its stake, Levy said.

Levy’s decision to keep quiet will probably do little to end speculation about what GE is going to do with NBC Universal (see our previous post on NBC Universal and Vivendi) Last week, JPMorgan analyst Stephen Tusa valued NBC Universal at $30 billion to $35 billion, and added that the unit ‘is commanding no value in the GE stock price.’ (That value, by the way, is off from $44 billion in his April 2008 report.)

-- Joe Flint

Francois Mori / Associated Press.