Television

NBC, Bronfman shortlisted for Vivendi Universal bid

NEW YORK: It has been two months since Vivendi formally invited bids for Vivendi Universal Entertainment. Initially, the company had claimed that the bids came in fast and furious, but now there are just two parties remaining. They are NBC and the Bronfman Group.

Vivendi Universal's board has decided to continue negotiating with the two of them instead of deciding a winner outright. Reports indicate that NBC has the edge because of its media strength and its parent, General Electric.

However, unlike the Bronfman Group, NBC has not offered cash upfront, of billions of dollars for a debt-burdened Vivendi.

Whichever way the chips fall, Vivendi will have a substantial minority interest in a US media corporation. Putting a spanner in the works is the fact that Vivendi is looking at an initial public offering for the assets as an alternative to a sale.

Vivendi's wants $14 billion for the assets and that is a figure that left many bidders sore. If the sale were to go through it would result in either one of the world's largest media companies or one of the world's biggest private equity funds.

Bronfman's Group includes Cablevision Systems which is, the main cable TV operator in New York and private equity fund Thomas H Lee Partners.

Vivendi Universal Entertainment's assets include the Universal movie studios and theme parks, cable channels.

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