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Vivendi cuts ties with News Corp

Vivendi, the French entertainment group currently merging with Seagram, the Canadian drinks, music and films company, is severing its links with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, bringing to an end a long, troubled alliance.

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LONDON (Brand Republic) – Vivendi, the French entertainment group currently merging with Seagram, the Canadian drinks, music and films company, is severing its links with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, bringing to an end a long, troubled alliance.

Vivendi’s chairman Jean-Marie Messier said he would sell the company’s stake in BSkyB, the News Corp-owned UK satellite broadcaster, and has abandoned the idea to use the share as a toehold in Sky Global network, the new News Corp digital company.

Messier said the 27% stake in BSkyB would be sold for up to £4.68bn or swapped for other media or communication assets.

European competition authorities said Vivendi would have to transfer ownership of its stake in order for its planned merger with Seagram to go through, but Messier had considered folding it into Sky Global.

Murdoch is currently negotiating a deal with Microsoft which could see the software giant becoming a strategic partner in Sky Global, which is being readied for a 2001 flotation with a value of £27.7bn.



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