Vivendi’s failure to court interest in Activision could lead the way to a dramatic new outcome – an MBO spearheaded by boss Bobby Kotick.
Activision has hired JP Morgan to advise on a possible buyout of Vivendi’s 60 per cent stake. The group would need to raise in the region of $5bn for Vivendi to seriously consider such an offer, meaning it would need the support of private equity partners.
However, an increasingly likely option is now looming over the firm – Vivendi is considering scrapping the sale altogether.
"Vivendi was hoping to get at least a bidder to challenge Activision's management and get a decent premium," a source speaking to Reuters claims. "But it didn't happen so now they are considering other options to raise cash and maintain the rating in the short term."
Key to this reversal in policy would be the sale of Brazilian telcom business GVT, which until now has been considered the “jewel” in Vivendi’s crown.
The sale could raise in the region of $10.4bn and would ease pressure on Vivendi falling share price.
It is understood that talks to sell GVT have not yet begun, but a change of attitude is clear – it was only very recently that any possible deal for the company was a taboo subject amongst Vivendi board members. Now it is reportedly being discussed openly.