Viacom In Talks To Buy Vivendi Businesses

By Antony
March 9, 2003 - 9:20 PM

Viacom is reportedly in talks to acquire some Vivendi Universal US businesses.

Viacom, which owns Paramount Pictures and UPN (Enterprise's creator and broadcaster respectively) stands to pick up a number of businesses if the deal goes through, according to Merissa Marr at Reuters/Variety Industry (via Yahoo! News).

The company is particulary interested in picking up USA Networks as well as the US SCI FI Channel, but the deal could branch out into buying theme parks. Vivendi Universal Music and the Universal film studio will also probably be up for grabs, although Viacom isn't expected to be interested in these.

The deal comes amid massive losses for Vivendi — the largest in history for a French company. So far, only oil billionair Marvin Davis has shown an interest, with an offer of $15 US billion. Vivendi chief Jean-Rene Fourtou has apparntly met with Viacom in an attempt to broaden the range of prospective buyers. Davis, however, was furious at the move, and has warned Vivendi's board that he could withdraw his bid unless they he exclusive talks with the company.

"Davis has invested a lot of time and effort on this bid," one source told Reuters/Variety. "Vivendi has kept Davis hanging in there but has given little in return."

The original report can be found here at Yahoo! News.

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