You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Inside Move: Vive les bids for U

Viv lands six suitors in dash for cash

Show us the money.

That’s the message from Jean-Rene Fourtou as Round 2 of the entertainment deal of the decade begins in earnest.

Vivendi Universal’s bankers and advisers were scheduled to get down to business July 1, with the board meeting in Paris to reflect on its first platter of proposals as chief operating officer Jean-Bernard Levy decamps to the U.S. to talk turkey with a smaller group of second-round bidders.

The first round of non-binding bids yielded three private equity, leveraged buyout offers for the whole shootin’ match (music, theme parks, studio and cable nets): Marvin Davis/Brian Mulligan, with lead backer Texas Pacific; MGM (Providence Equity Partners); and Edgar Bronfman Jr. (Blackstone Group and Cablevision).

Viv U also netted one multifaceted cash-and-stock-swap offer from John Malone‘s Liberty Media (including options with and without the music group) and one amorphous yet intriguing proposal from NBC to jointly create a new entertainment conglom. Viacom hopes to get a Round 2 hearing for the cable nets only.

It’s too early to ascertain the true pricetags of these deals, but analysts estimate values in the $13 billion-$15 billion range for 80% of VUE.

NBC’s offer could be appealing if Viv U truly believes it’s out of the financial woods. The company has repeatedly said it will not do a bad deal, and just how comfortable Viv is feeling about its fiscal health — it got a credit upgrade by Moody’s on June 25 — could dictate whether it can afford to ponder the potential of NBC’s joint-venture offer.

Liberty is considered in the best position to satisfy the French company’s stated preference for cash while resolving some of the messy tax and ownership issues that ensnare Viv U and Barry Diller‘s Interactive Corp. in an uncomfortable marriage.

MGM, the only studio in the first round, has one crucial advantage: It is making a cash offer and its vast library would be an ideal mesh with Universal’s. Plus, U would bring the Lion an ongoing TV production biz as well as domestic cable channels.

More Biz

  • MAGA Teens Taunting Native American Elder

    MAGA Hat-Wearing Teens Harassing Native American Elder Spark Condemnation From Hollywood

    The Internet erupted in outrage Saturday after a video of young men wearing MAGA hats and attempting to intimidate a Native American man at the Indigenous Peoples March in Washington D.C. went viral. The march is taking place amid the government shutdown, which is nearing the one-month mark and has interfered with many Native Americans’ [...]

  • Leonard Klady Dead: Film Journalist Was

    Leonard Klady, Veteran Film Journalist, Dies at 67

    Leonard “Len” Klady, a former Variety reporter and critic who most recently worked for Movie City News and Screen International, has died. His wife, Beverly Walker, said he had been diagnosed with cancer in November.  Klady was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba and graduated from the University of Manitoba. He was a founding member of the [...]

  • Jordan Feldstein

    Roc Nation Seeks $11 Million From Insurer in Jordan Feldstein's Death

    Roc Nation filed a federal lawsuit Friday seeking $11 million from its insurance carrier following the death of Maroon 5 manager Jordan Feldstein. Roc Nation, a joint venture of Jay-Z and Live Nation Entertainment, partnered with Feldstein’s Career Artist Management in 2016. At the time, Roc Nation says it took out a “key man” life [...]

  • Walt Disney HQ LA

    Disney Unveils Financial Data for DTC Unit, Sets April 11 for Investor Presentation

    Disney has rejiggered its business segments for earnings reporting to make room for the new unit housing its global streaming operations. Disney on Friday released restated earnings for fiscal 2018, 2017 and 2016 to give investors and financial analysts better visibility into its spending on the launch of the Disney Plus, ESPN Plus and other [...]

  • R. Kelly

    R. Kelly Dropped by Sony Music

    Sony Music has decided to dissolve its working relationship with R. Kelly, Variety has learned. No external announcement of the move is planned in the immediate future, says a source, who added that the company took its time to wade through the issues “responsibly” and avoid legal ramifications. R. Kelly was removed from the RCA [...]


    Ex-Agent Stuart Manashil Ordered to Repay CAA in Fraud Case

    Former literary agent Stuart Manashil was ordered on Thursday to repay a $23,975 commission to CAA, which he admitted he had illegally diverted to a friend. Manashil, who now runs his own management company, pleaded guilty in March 2018 to a federal wire fraud charge. In a letter to U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood, Manashil [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content