Vivendi executive denies spilling beans over Apple

More than my job's worth, mate

Vivendi Universal director Claude Bebear didn't express his views on the merger talks between Vivendi's Universal Music Group (UMG) and Apple.

So, at least, a Vivendi spokesman claims in a Reuters article. Bebear's comments were originally reported by Bloomberg, a Reuters rival.

Said the spokesman: "Regarding a report by Bloomberg, Claude Bebear denies having given a view on any negotiations which may be underway." The spokesman was reading a prepared statement issued by Bebear.

"He believes that as a director it is not up to him to make such a declaration," the spokesman added.

Indeed, it isn't, and the statement is no doubt an attempt at damage limitation. It's hard to imagine that Bebear didn't express a view to Bloomberg, though he may have stated he was speaking off the record. Whether Bloomberg chose to quote him anyway or he inadvertently forgot to make such a disclaimer before discussing Apple and UMG, isn't known.

Either way, the cat's out of the bag. Indeed, Bebear's follow-up statement is hardly a denial. The Bloomberg report quotes Bebear stating that Apple may offer $6 billion for UMG, a figure he calls "a bit low". That same figure was first mooted by the LA Times report that first claimed Apple was talking to Vivendi about a UMG purchase. ®

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Related Link

Reuters: Bebear denies comments on Vivendi/Apple talks