Viv U out of Euro stock markets

Alcatel, Pinault also dropped

PARIS — Debt-ridden Vivendi Universal suffered a fresh blow Tuesday when its share price fell sharply after it was dumped by two leading European stock market indexes, the Dow Jones Stoxx 50 and Eurostoxx 50.

By the close of trading on the Paris bourse, Viv U’s share price had nose-dived 6.6% to $11.82.

The double ouster came barely two days after the beleaguered conglom earned some praise for the multimillion-dollar sales of its stakes in the Internet portal Vizzavi to Vodafone, and of the French Express-Expansion publishing group, which together will pull in $439 million.

CEO Jean-Rene Fourtou has pledged to sell off $4.9 billion worth of assets in the next nine months in a bid to reduce its $18.9 billion debt.

Viv U’s demotion came as little surprise to market watchers, though. “We had been expecting it to drop out of the indexes,” one analyst said. “It is simply a function of the company’s falling market capitalization.”

The conglom has lost 80% of its value since the start of the year.

Tuesday’s share price dip was fueled by continuing fears that Fourtou may be tempted to flog other valuable Viv U assets — like mobile phone company SFR, now being eyed by Vodafone — at knock-down prices in his haste to reduce the crushing debt.

Being bounced out of the Euro stock indexes brings its own woes, it was pointed out Tuesday, as, for example, tracker funds automatically switch their investments from Viv U to its successor in the indexes. Vivendi Universal refused to comment.

Two other major French firms, the ailing telecoms equipment maker Alcatel and the retail group Pinault Printemps Redoute, which this week appointed former Canal Plus COO Denis Olivennes as its new managing director, also dropped out of the European blue chip stock market indexes.

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Scene News from Variety

Loading