Vivendi hires banks for SFR listing - source
PARIS Oct 10 (Reuters) - Vivendi has hired Societe Generale and Citigroup as lead banks to prepare a stock market listing of SFR, its struggling French telecoms unit, as it seeks to remake itself as a media group focused on music and pay-TV, a source said.
The once-sprawling conglomerate had said last month that it was aiming to decide early next year on whether to spin off the business.
"The calendar is basically aiming for marketing in summer for a fall IPO window," said the source familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Other banks with smaller roles in the deal include Goldman Sachs, BNP Paribas, Lazard and Bank of America Merrill Lynch, a second person familiar with the matter said.
Vivendi declined to comment.
Vivendi is already selling most of its Activision video game and Maroc Telecom businesses as part of a broader overhaul after SFR was hammered by competition in French mobile sparked by the arrival of low-cost operator Iliad.
SFR's earnings before interest, tax and depreciation have been falling since 2010. The split that Vivendi is envisaging would leave SFR, the second-biggest telecom operator in France, an independent company to compete with Orange and Bouygues.
The success of the initial public offering will largely depend on whether fierce competition in the French market begins to abate by the summer so Vivendi can tell prospective investors that the worst is behind SFR.
The remaining media company would include Universal Music Group and French pay-TV provider Canal Plus, as well as Brazilian telecom operator GVT, which Vivendi had previously attempted to sell, failing to find a buyer at the price it wanted.
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