Vivendi rejected $8.5 bln Softbank bid for Universal Music -FT

PARIS, July 18 Thu Jul 18, 2013 2:21pm EDT

PARIS, July 18 (Reuters) - Japanese telecoms group SoftBank Corp offered to pay $8.5 billion to acquire Universal Music but its owner, French media and entertainment conglomerate Vivendi, rejected the bid, the Financial Times reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the proposal.

The paper said the bid for the world's largest music group was made about three months ago. Vivendi spurned the offer because it sees music as central to its strategy, it said.

Vivendi is more than a year into a strategy review that has included attempted asset sales, including the ongoing sale of Maroc Telecom and the failed auction of Brazilian telecom unit GVT.

SoftBank officials could not immediately be reached for comment. Vivendi declined to comment.