Vivendi announced in 2012 that it was launching a strategic review of all its assets. In its March letter to the shareholders, reviewing the reasons for the share price performance, Vivendi indicated that an “issue that has regularly arisen since 2002 is the strategic question of the group’s scope”. 2002 is the year when Jean-René Fourtou took over the Chairmanship of the company, disposed of some activities, refocused and strengthened the group, developing it around entertainment and communication.
Jean-François Dubos, who joined Compagnie Générale des Eaux, the predecessor of Vivendi, in 1991, was appointed Chairman of the Management Board on June 28. He replaced Jean-Bernard Lévy who stepped down following a divergence of views on the strategic development of the group.
Two major transactions were closed in September 2012. On September 28, Vivendi and Universal Music Group announced that they had completed the acquisition of EMI Recorded Music. The day before, Canal+ Group completed the acquisition of the Direct 8 and Direct Star free-to-air channels owned by the Bolloré group in exchange for Vivendi shares; on October 16, the Bolloré group indicated that it owned 5,01% of Vivendi’s share capital. Also in September, the transaction between Canal+ Group, ITI and TVN was granted full consent by the Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection; the closing took place on November 30.
In July 2013, SFR announced the start of exclusive negotiations for a mobile network sharing agreement with Bouygues Telecom; an agreement on this matter was signed at the end of January 2014.
Key milestones part of the Group’s strategic review were achieved a few weeks later. The sale of over 85% of Vivendi’s stake in Activision Blizzard was completed on October 11. And on November 5, Vivendi announced the signing of the definitive agreement for the sale of its 53% shareholding in Maroc Telecom to Etisalat.
On November 26, Vivendi’s Supervisory Board unanimously validated the group’s planned demerger launched on September 11. Vivendi aims to become an international media group; the demerger plan would also offer SFR greater strategic autonomy. The group’s objective is to include the plan on the agenda of the next annual shareholders’ meeting on June 24, 2014. Also on November 26, the Supervisory Board confirmed that the Chairmanship of the future Vivendi would be entrusted to Vincent Bolloré. It appointed Arnaud de Puyfontaine as Senior Executive Vice President in charge of Vivendi’s Media and Content activities.