PARIS, July 7 Vivendi is exploring
alternative moves to extract cash from its Activision
Blizzard unit after failing to sell part of its
61-percent stake in the U.S. video games business, the Financial
Times reported on its website on Sunday.
One of the options Vivendi has explored during discussions
with Activision includes a tender offer by the U.S. company for
part of this holding funded by cash on its balance sheet or
through a debt offering, the newspaper said citing people
familiar with the talks.
Discussions over a possible cash payout come at a crucial
time because from Tuesday Vivendi gains new powers to force the
payment of a sizeable dividend from Activision, the newspaper
Current rules require Vivendi to secure the support of
Activision's independent directors ahead of any dividend payment
that takes the division's net debt above $400 million.
But as these rules expire on Tuesday, Vivendi would be able
to gear up Activision's balance sheet and force the payout of a
special dividend without the approval of independent directors.
A Vivendi spokesman declined to comment. No one at
Activision was immediately available to comment.
As part of a move to cut debt and revive its share price,
Vivendi wants to reduce exposure to telecoms, which now deliver
60 percent of operating profit, and focus on the media
businesses, which include pay-TV in France, music, and video
Chief Financial Officer Philippe Capron said in May that
Vivendi was still reviewing options for