Vivendi gets second round of bids

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The auction for Vivendi Universal Entertainment passed another
hurdle Monday, the deadline for second-round bids.

Vivendi Universal is now entertaining proposals from an investment group led by former
Seagram Co. Ltd. chief Edgar Bronfman, Viacom Inc. and NBC.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. and Comcast Corp. had already dropped out of the bidding, and Vivendi rejected a
bid from oil baron Marvin Davis in the first round.

Oddsmakers are now trying to call the contest. "I think it is just a matter
of time before they announce a deal with [NBC parent] GE [General Electric Co.]," one insider said.

None of the proposals is likely to meet Vivendi's $14 billion price tag.

NBC is not looking to put up any cash, but rather looking for more of a
merger. Bronfman's bid does involve a cash component.

Vivendi is slated to take the proposals to its board Aug. 26.

Last week, Vivendi agreed to a potential backup plan with Comcast. The
companies said they "intend to explore an alliance involving both parties' cable
channels and Vivendi's worldwide content with the goal of creating new channels
and services."

But Vivendi said the alliance would not preclude a sale of its entertainment