Bollore To Join
Vivendi Board

French industrialist Vincent Bollore will be invited to join Vivendi’s board after his family group increased its stake in the media giant to more than 5 percent.

His stake stems largely from the two French TV channels – Direct 8 and Direct Star – that his company sold to Canal Plus, Vivendi’s pay TV arm, in return for Vivendi shares. 

In June the Wall Street Journal first mentioned that, should those deals go through, he would likely join the board. France’s antitrust regulator approved them at the end of July.
Bollore, known for turning around ailing companies such as ad agency Havas and industrial tube maker Vallourec, is buying into Vivendi as it undergoes a strategic review that seeks to reshape the company away from its telecommunications assets and toward media.
Vivendi has grown its media and entertainment interests with Universal’s $1.9 billion purchase of EMI’s recorded music businesses.
More than six months ago Vivendi chairman Jean-Rene Fourtou said the supervisory board was mulling over the advantages of breaking the company up.
Shareholders will hope that Bollore’s arrival will raise market confidence in Vivendi’s ability to sort its debts, many of them the hangover from former chief exec Jean-Marie Messier’s debt-fueled buying binge as he tried to transform the former French water utility into a global media and telecoms giant.
Earlier in the year Vivendi chairman Fourtou said he would welcome Bollore’s presence on the board.