Vincent Bollore is chairman and top shareholder at French media company Vivendi. Bollore is currently facing pressure from P. Schoenfeld Asset Management (PSAM) to increase payouts to shareholders and clarify its strategy. Bollore mentioned in a statement that it had bought 24.6 million additional shares at 23.08 euros each, for a total amount of 568 million euros ($614 million). The billionaire businessman now holds 162 million shares worth 3.8 billion euros. Bollore only had control of 10.2 percent of Vivendi.
Vincent Bolloré increased his stake in Vivendi SA for the third time in a month as a result of a pressure with its shareholder P. Schoenfeld Asset Management LP. This is a result of Vivendibeing under scrutiny from PSAM, a U.S. hedge fund that wants the company to use funds from recent asset sales for increasing shareholder returns. PSAM is trying to get support from other shareholders for two resolutions it has proposed for Vivendi’s general meeting held later this month. The resolutions mentioned that Vivendi needs to pay shareholders a total of €9 billion.
On the other hand, Vivendi has been fighting back. Vivendi argues that the hedge fund, which owns 0.8% in Vivendi, wants to dismantle the company and is using shareholders not to vote for the resolutions.Vivendi has dramatically reduced its business over the years leaving investors wondering what its new chairman plans to do to develop Vivendi. Mr. Bolloré has said little about his plans and this sparked increased criticism from investors. Mr. Bollorétook over the chairmanship of Vivendi last June and is the largest individual shareholder. He has more than doubled his holding in Vivendi over the past month. It is expected that the chairman is getting ready for an intense general meeting in Paris on April 17.
Mr. Bolloré made it clear that he doesn’t intend to take over Vivendi within the coming six months; this was said in a filing with France’s stock market regulator AMF. The increase in shares is a sign that Bollore is confident in Vivendi’s capacity to become the best in Europe. On the other hand, he did not exclude proposing more members to Vivendi’s board.
Mr. Bolloré will be prompted to reply to Peter M. Schoenfeld, at the general meeting. PSAM has long criticized Vivendi for not providing enough information on its investment strategies and said its chairman is benefiting from undervalued stock prices to improve its holding. The fund has also argued that Vivendi may be able to increase its share price by selling parts or all of Universal Music Group. The PSAM also denied Vivendi’s claims that it was seeking to dismantle the company.
Vivendi has gained backing from its employees in fighting PSAM after warning that the fund could damage Vivendi with its plans to ruin the group.
“We are confident that our group can become an international player in media and content generating strong job creation through a long-term strategy,” noted Paulo Cardoso, who represents Vivendi employees on the supervisory board, in a letter this week. “It is our duty to reject your proposal which is essentially nothing more than a holdup.”
Mr. Schoenfeld on Thursday mentioned that it was rather too early to find out how much backing from shareholders he would get. “Let’s say we’re optimistic,” Mr. Schoenfeld said. “We don’t understand why our initiative is stirring such a controversy. What we are proposing to Vivendi is a win-win deal.”
Bolloré is a French investment and industrial holding group with headquarters in Puteaux, located on the western outskirts of Paris, France. The company employs 28,000 people around the world.The company is led by Vincent Bolloré. The company is listed on the Euronext exchange in Paris; the Bolloré family retains majority control of the company through a complex and indirect holding structure. Bollore stock market evolution: http://www.bloomberg.com/quote/BOL:FP
About Vincent Bollore
Vincent Bolloré is a French industrialist, corporate raider and businessman. He serves as the Chairman and CEO of the investment group Bolloré.
Vivendi SA is a French multinational mass media company with headquarters in Paris, France. The company is involved in music, television and film. Vivendi stock market evolution: http://www.bloomberg.com/quote/VIV:FP
About Paulo Cardoso
Mr. Paulo Cardoso is a representative of Vivendi SA employees. He is a trained accountant; he joined La Compagnie Générale des Eaux in 1997 as administrative manager at the Communications Department.In 2002, he integrated the Treasury Department where he is responsible for the Cash Management of Canal+ Group and of the Group’s systems networks.
P. Schoenfeld Asset Management LP
PSAM is a global alternative asset manager focused on event driven investment opportunities. PSAM was founded by Peter M. Schoenfeld andhas been providing services as an investment adviser since 1997. PSAM is registered as an investment adviser with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.P. Schoenfeld Asset Management LLP is authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.