Well now it’s official; after meeting earlier today the Supervisory Board of French media and entertainment giant Vivendi has picked Patrick Drahi’s Altice group as their exclusive choice of negotiating partner instead of French company Bouygues. Now they will try to hammer out together a definitive agreement for the sale of their mobile phone unit SFR over the next three weeks.
As Vivendi indeed put it themselves after the meeting, stating very simply,
“Vivendi’s Supervisory Board met today and examined the two offers received from Altice and Bouygues.
“It considers their (Altice’s) offer to be the most pertinent for the Group’s shareholders and employees, with the opportunity for effective execution.”
“The offer also achieves Vivendi’s objective to rapidly become a leading European media and content player and develop SFR as a dynamic leader in high speed fixed and mobile telephony.”
“The Altice offer comprises an €11.75 billion payment to Vivendi and a 32% share in the equity of the combined listed entity. It also provides Vivendi with pre-determined exit conditions.”
“At the end of the three weeks, the Supervisory Board will meet again to examine the next steps and to decide if it should put an end to the other options envisaged.”
That must be one of clearest statements of fact and intent one could hope to find in any corporate pronouncement – both clear and to the point.
So in three weeks time we shall know if Patrick Drahi has indeed won the prize; the devil is always in the details but at least he now has considerable momentum on his side which, in any important transaction, is an important advantage.