Vivendi puts 35% of unit up for IPO

German takeover offer rejected

NEW YORK — French conglom Vivendi, which has just agreed to buy Universal Studios parent Seagram Co., said Friday that it plans to sell up to 35% of its Vivendi Environment division in an initial public offering later this week.

Vivendi, which said it plans to raise about $3.74 billion from the IPO, also confirmed news reports that it had rejected an outright takeover offer for the division from a German energy concern.

Although looking to make media and entertainment its core operation, Vivendi clearly wants to keep its hand in water utilities, waste collection, energy and other more prosaic industrial businesses that throw off lots of cash.

At a press conference, Vivendi chairman-CEO Jean-Marie Messier confirmed that he had no plans to sell off Vivendi Environment completely.

“Utilities is one of Vivendi’s two major businesses and it will stay that way,” he said.

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