Bolloré Boosts Vivendi Stake to Fight off Activist Fund's Challenge

Mar 27 2015 | 1:00am ET

Vincent Bolloré's French conglomerate boosted its stake in mass media giant Vivendi in an attempt to stave off an activist hedge fund's challenge.

Group Bolloré has increased its stake from 8.2% to 10.2% after purchashing roughly 30 million shares for  €632 million ($689 million), the company has disclosed.

The deal comes after P. Schoenfeld Asset Management (PSAM), which owns a 0.8%, pitched Vivendi shareholders a plan for the company to return billions in capital that came through a series of recent asset sales. The plan includes a €9 billion special dividend for shareholders. PSAM has also urged the media giant to consider spinning off its Universal Music Group.

In a statement on Tuesday, Vivendi said that its current dividend policy already "ensures shareholder loyalty." The company announced that it plans to return 5.7 billion euros to company shareholders by 2017, in addition to using a large share of cash to help boost growth and fund potential acquisitions.

This is the largest challenge that the company has faced from an investor under Bolloré's guidance.

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