Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Vivendi Board Agrees to Utility Sale

November 08, 2002|Richard Verrier | Times Staff Writer

Turning its back on the business it established 150 years ago, Vivendi Universal is moving ahead with the sale of its remaining stake in one of the world's largest water utilities.

Vivendi said Thursday that its board of directors agreed to sell half its 40% stake in Vivendi Environnement to a group of private investors by year-end. The group has the option to buy the rest of the stake by the end of 2004. In all, the sale would fetch about $4 billion.

Although profitable, Vivendi Environnement does not fit with Vivendi's plans to evolve into a pure media company, with assets that include Hollywood's Universal Studios and Universal Music Group.

New Chief Executive Jean-Rene Fourtou wants the cash to pay down Vivendi's crippling $19 billion in media debt, which almost forced the company to file for bankruptcy protection this summer. Vivendi also wants to beat out Britain's Vodafone for control of the profitable French telecom business Cegetel, of which Vivendi owns 44%.

Vivendi also said Thursday that it completed the sale of Houghton Mifflin Co. for about $1.6 billion to buyout firms Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|