Bronfman rips Peacock’s bid

Investor sees no synergies for VUE

NEW YORK — “The NBC deal is not VU selling entertainment, it’s VU buying an interest in NBC,” Edgar Bronfman Jr. told the Financial Times. “They’re turning over the keys to the car, hoping someone else will drive it faster and that someone else will pay more for the car 10 miles down the road.”

A day after Vivendi U’s board effectively put his team’s cash-rich bid on hold while it awaits more clarity regarding NBC’s joint-venture offer, the FT published a week-old interview with Bronfman in which he lashes out at the Peacock’s proposal in a bid to convince fellow Vivendi Universal investors that the NBC bid is not in their interest.

Bronfman, who is both investor in and bidder for Vivendi Universal Entertainment, told the paper that a deal with NBC parent GE would leave Vivendi U in the same strategic limbo in which it has labored for more than a year.

He dismissed the synergies that NBC claims it can bring to VUE and warned that getting involved with the network, with no experience running a studio, will simply confound investors.

“The share price hasn’t moved for a reason: No one knows where they’re going,” Bronfman told the FT.

The Bronfman team has said repeatedly that if CEO Jean-Rene Fourtou is true to Vivendi U shareholders’ interests, he should stick to an original promise to take cash, exit entertainment and become a telecom company.

Bronfman met with the Vivendi U team Wednesday to exchange views, but there was no report as to an imminent outcome from the talks.

Bronfman’s private equity-backed bid is believed to include at least $5 billion in cash upfront, plus an additional $4 billion-$5 billion in assumed VUE and Vivendi U debt plus the assumption of all of the InteractiveCorp obligations.