Vivendi mends activist ties as Sky bid denied

Adam Hignett
SHARES in Sky went up yesterday after Vivendi’s denial that it was planning to bid for the Pay-TV broad­caster failed to quash speculation.

The French entertainment giant, which owns Universal music and French broadcaster Canal Plus, also said its recent dispute with an activist hedge fund over its vast amount of spare cash has been resolved by hiking its dividend.

Vivendi came under fire from P Schoenfeld Asset Management for not returning cash to shareholders, despite around €15bn (£10.9bn) of cash over the past couple of years coming from a series of divestitures.

The deal with P Schoenfeld to increase the dividend by €2 per share over the next two years, will mean the media multinational can avert a showdown at next month’s meeting.

On Tuesday, Vivendi continued its media buy-up drive, saying it was in talks to buy a 75 to 80 per cent stake in the video site Dailymotion in a deal worth up to €250m. But rumours of a bid to takeover Sky, for an estimated £28bn with debt, were strenuously denied yesterday.

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