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Vodafone buys out Vivendi stake in Vizzavi

Not cheap

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Vodafone has confirmed the purchase of Vivendi's 50 per cent stake in mobile portal Vizzavi for the remarkably munificent sum of € 163;142.7m cash.

Presumably the funding was constructed as a loan - we infer this from the following Vodafone statement: "Following the acquisition,
Vizzavi has no further indebtedness outstanding to Vivendi." But surely Vodafone could have squeezed a better price. And why did it let Vivendi hang on to Vizzavi France?

Vivendi last month confirmed its intention to renege on its funding commitments for the spectacularly loss-making business - remember Vizzavi is one of the biggest start-ups ever, which was supposed to capitalised at €1.5bn. And Vivendi is a forced seller.

The stricken French conglomerate owes billions of dollars following its acquisition charge into the entertainment and media sectors in the late 90s/ beginning of the noughties. And now its in a fire sale - pay TV arms Canal Plus in France, and Tele Piu in Italy are on the block, even Universal Studios could be hived off.

Vodafone maintains that Vizzavi is meeting its targets and is on course for profit. We'd sure like to see those targets.

Vizzavi has been in cost-cutting mode for much of the year, with wholesale lay-offs at its European HQ in London, and the closure of its fixed line ISP.

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