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Bronfman family offload E1.2bn Vivendi shares

LONDON - The Bronfman family, the largest shareholder in French media group Vivendi Universal, has sold €1.2bn (£763m) worth of its shares back to the company.

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The family sold the 17m shares two months after the expiry of the lock-up period that was agreed at the time of Vivendi's merger with Seagram to form Vivendi Universal.

The Bronfman family was the founder of Seagram, the Canadian drinks company, which went on to buy the music and film business of Universal. The business was merged with Vivendi last year.

The family is still the largest shareholder in Vivendi, with a remaining 6.1% stake of about 33m shares.

Vivendi played down the sell-off, claiming it reflected the family's desire to diversify its investment portfolio, and denied it was related to the 22% fall in share price since the merger with Seagram.

Vivendi bought back the shares from the family at an average of €75.1 (£45), a 3% discount from the market price. The family said it did not intend to sell any more shares.

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