Vivendi Universal’s board pulled Universal Music off the auction block and
sent bidders back to their spreadsheets to craft new bids.
After a meeting in Paris Tuesday morning, Vivendi directors told suitors they
would rather hang onto the music group and try to turn it around themselves than
accept the valuations being offered.
Liberty Media Corp., a group led by Edgar Bronfman Jr. and another led by
Marvin Davis had bid for the music group in order to get the real prizes --
Vivendi Universal Entertainment’s cable networks and, to a lesser extent, the
Universal Studios movie operation. Now they’re back to revising bids.
Dow Jones & Co. and other press reports said Vivendi told Davis he was
out of the game. But one executive involved in the process said Davis was only
told that he must significantly raise his offer.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. did not bid for the music group. NBC did not bid at
all, but it is still dangling a merger of NBC with VUE. And Viacom Inc. said
it's interested in the networks, but not the studio.