You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Inside Move: Viv U sizes up suitors

Co. hopes to have a decision by mid-August

After months of speculation, media manipulation and corporate gesticulation, Vivendi Universal’s bankers this week will finally cast their eyes on a half-dozen bids for the French conglom’s entertainment assets. Viv U says it will have a resolution by mid-August, but also insists it won’t be rushed. It could be long summer for the folks at U.

The real, multibillion-dollar question on CEO Jean-Rene Fourtou‘s mind is: What’s it all worth? And if there’s no single slam-dunk offer, which will be the best group to get in bed with, assuming Viv will be riding along with at least a small minority position for a few more years?

Viv U is hoping the studio unit will be valued at $4 billion-$6 billion, with Universal Music Group fetching $5 billion and USA Networks up to $7 billion.

The private equity-backed teams — Edgar Bronfman Jr. and Marvin Davis/Brian Mulligan — will put up the biggest cash numbers, since they’re bidding for the whole ranch (movie and TV studio, music and theme parks). Then there will be John Malone‘s envelope, the contents of which might require a team of forensic accountants to fully comprehend.

Strategic plays like NBC or Viacom could be trickier to appraise since they will be cherry-picking. And, there’s always the possibility that Viv U will mix and match suitors — selling the studio and cable nets to NBC or Liberty and offering up problematic Universal Music Group to Bronfman as a consolation prize.

Lastly there’s darkhorse MGM, which, along with Malone’s Liberty Media, was last glimpsed making the rounds of possible investment partners.

Whatever the proposals look like at first, they’re more than likely to mutate. Some contenders have said privately they could form different bids with new partners as the process advances.

More Biz

  • Phil McIntyre Steps Down as Roc

    Phil McIntyre Steps Down From Roc Nation Management, but Remains Affiliated With Company

    Phil McIntyre has stepped down as president of Roc Nation Management, but his PhilyMack management company remains affiliated with Roc, a source close to the situation tells Variety. PhilyMack, which McIntyre founded in 2006, partnered with Roc Nation in 2015. The source stressed that McIntyre’s role at Roc Nation Management  — whose clients include Rihanna, [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein Trial

    Ben Brafman Drops Out of Harvey Weinstein Rape Case

    Harvey Weinstein has officially parted ways with defense attorney Ben Brafman, releasing a joint statement Thursday announcing the move. Weinstein had clashed with his defense attorney over strategy in his rape and sexual assault case. The pair issued a statement saying their parting was amicable, and that Brafman would cooperate fully with Weinstein’s new attorneys. [...]

  • Netflix - Apple TV

    Netflix Turns in Record Q4 Subscriber Gain, Price Increase Weighs on U.S. Forecast

    Netflix is beating Wall Street expectations for international subscriber growth — but its recently announced price increase in the U.S. may have put a damper on its momentum in the States. For the fourth quarter of 2018, Netflix reported 1.53 million paid net adds in the U.S. and 7.31 million internationally, to end the year [...]

  • Heather Parry Live Nation

    Live Nation Investigation of Heather Parry Also Targets Leakers (EXCLUSIVE)

    Over the past two weeks, the law firm of Paul Hastings LLP has been probing allegations reported by Variety last month that Heather Parry, the head of Live Nation Productions, had verbally abused employees and used offensive language in the workplace. But the lead investigator, Elena Baca, seems to be just as interested in uncovering [...]

  • Leslie Moonves

    Leslie Moonves to Pursue Arbitration for His $120 Million Severance From CBS

    Former CBS Corp. chairman-CEO Leslie Moonves will pursue an arbitration claim to fight CBS for the $120 million severance that he was denied last month when the company’s board of directors determined he was fired for cause. Moonves was ousted in September after multiple women came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against the longtime [...]

  • A view of the SK Telecom

    Korean OTT Players, SK Telecom Join Forces to Compete Against Netflix

    South Korea’s three major broadcasters KBS, MBC and SBS have joined forces with the country’s leading telecom firm, SK Telecom, to launch a new video streaming platform. The move is regarded as a defensive reaction against the growing influence of foreign competitors, lead by Netflix. The broadcasters already jointly own Pooq, with MBC and SBS [...]

  • David Lubliner Moves to UTA From

    Veteran WME Agent David Lubliner to Join UTA

    William Morris Endeavor agent David Lubliner is departing the company for a post at United Talent Agency, individuals familiar with the move told Variety. The parting of ways was amicable, the insiders added. Lubliner was a veteran in WME’s motion picture literary department. Rumors of his exit had been floating since Hollywood reopened for the new [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content