Vodafone rumors boost Viv

Shares take a hike after SFR buzz

Vivendi shares spiked Wednesday on market rumors that Vodafone may bid up to $50 billion for the French media conglom in order to grab its long-contested stake in mobile phone unit SFR.

Shares rose 2.9% to E28.98 ($37.13) in afternoon trading.

Vodafone, which controls 43% of SFR, has been waiting for an opportunity to make another go at the mobile phone company after several failed bids for the stake in the French telecom cash cow.

Some reports had the British telecom poised for a $34-per-share takeover of Vivendi. There had been earlier reports of Verizon’s thwarted bid of $38 billion for Vodafone’s 45% stake in Verizon Wireless.

If rumors prove true, Vodafone could potentially use the Verizon cash for a takeover of the French parent of Canal Plus.

Vivendi was the topic of takeover gossip a couple of months ago. In March, industry insiders had Sebastian Holdings, the investment vehicle of corporate raider Alexander Vik, set to commence a proxy battle for the breakup of the telecommunications and media company.

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