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Vivendi cash worries continue
By Jon Newton,
(more articles from this author)
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Music Industry News - as it happens
Source: Mi2N - August 15, 2002

Despite an announcement from Vivendi Universal's board Of directors of a plan to set up a euro credit facility with the company's banking partners, its stock - already down 80% so far this year - hit 8.94 euros, "the lowest level since the former water company was transformed into a global media empire in the 1990s," as an August 15 Reuters report out it, continuing, "The stock had stabilized at 10.60 euros, 11 percent down, by 11 a.m. EDT.

"Crushed by 19 billion euros ($18.6 billion) of debt, heavy losses and battling to streamline disparate assets, the world's second largest media group has seen credit ratings cut to 'junk' as it attempts to refinance 5.6 billion euros by next March.

"The credit crunch has placed the company in the hands of its banks and some analysts estimate that Vivendi, whose assets include Universal Studios and record labels boasting artists like U2 and Eminem, will run out of cash by end-September if bankers fail to extend a 2.0 billion euro credit line."

In the meanwhile, in an August 13 statement the company said:

"Based on the proposal by the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, the Board approved the initial decision taken on the plan to dispose of at least 10 billion euros worth of assets, including 5 billion euros in the next nine months. The Board voted to sell Houghton Mifflin and has entrusted the Chairman to carry out this plan. On September 25, the Board will review in detail the company's strategy to optimize all of its assets.

"The Board authorized the cancellation of 20,865,167 treasury shares linked to certain stock option plans. A call option program will be put in place in order to cover potential option exercises.

"The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer presented the Board with new management principles for the organization of the holding company, Vivendi Universal group, and announced the appointment of a new Chief Operating Officer, Jean-Bernard Lévy. Eric Licoys accepted to continue heading certain strategic dossiers for the company in the position of advisor to the Chairman."

Related News from Mi2N:
» Vivendi Universal Reports First Half 2002 Results
» Vivendi Universal Issues Update On Company's Refinancing Needs

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