Vivendi looks to Brazilian acquisition

Brazilian flag

French conglomerate Vivendi has launched a €2bn offer for 100 per cent of Brazilian fixed line carrier GVT, giving it access to a wide range of services for the Latin American market, including VoIP telephony, corporate data, broadband, internet services and pay TV.

On Wednesday, Vivendi said it had signed an agreement with GVT’s two largest shareholders, Swarth Group and Global Village Telecom, allowing the French firm to launch an offer for 100 per cent of GVT’s share capital.

Vivendi’s offer values the firm at around €2bn. But the deal is conditional on Vivendi acquiring a minimum of 51 per cent of GVT’s share capital, with the two controlling shareholders agreeing to tender a minimum of 20 per cent of GVT’s outstanding shares out of around 30 per cent they currently own to get the French company started. Presumably, Vivendi will have to find the other 30 per cent or so on the public stock exchange.

GVT is also seeking to waive an “anti-takeover mechanism”, otherwise known as a poison pill, which could end up forcing Vivendi to make a higher offer, suggesting the shareholders are more than happy with what Vivendi has put on the table.

As of June 30, 2009, GVT had approximately 2.3 million customer lines in service, including voice, broadband, data and VoIP services. It is one of the smaller players competing against Latin American giants like Oi/Brasil Telecom, America Movil and Telefonica.

Vivendi, which operates the SFR network in France, is seeking to increase its footprint in emerging markets beyond Morocco, where it controls Maroc Telecom Group.

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