Viv bids au revoir to NYSE

Conglom yanks shares from Street

French media conglom Vivendi on Thursday pulled its shares from trading on the New York Stock Exchange — a move it had been mulling since early this year.

Vivendi shares have traded on the NYSE in the form of American Depositary Shares since Sept. 12, 2000. Company listed on the exchange to raise its profile in the U.S. investment community during the run-up to its merger with Seagram Co., then parent of Universal Studios.

Companies whose stock trades on foreign markets often have American Depositary Receipt agreements with a U.S. bank, which allows for easier trading and collection of dividends in the U.S. Each ADR represents a set number of shares in the foreign company. Vivendi terminated its deposit agreement with the Bank of New York as of 5 p.m. ET Thursday, making Thursday the last trading day for Vivendi ADSs.

Holders of Vivendi ADSs can exchange them for the underlying Vivendi ordinary shares until Aug. 28 at the Bank of New York. After that, the bank will sell all underlying shares and hold the proceeds for holders of the ADSs.

Vivendi, whose ticker symbol was V, was one of the few companies that had a single-letter ticker symbol.

Shares in the conglom, which owns Universal Music Group, Canal Plus telecom companies and a share of NBC Universal, will continue to be listed on the Euronext Paris.