EA enters Vivendi bidding war

Further speculation surrounded Vivendi today, as it emerged that EA have filed for
a universal shelf registration with the Securities Exchange Commission – a regulatory
requirement when a company intends to take out a line of credit – paving the way for
a possible $2billion buyout of Vivendi’s Game division.

Of course this is all good news for Vivendi as they plan a possible bidding war
between EA and Microsoft for the purchase of the houses behind such classics
as Warcraft, Spyro and Half Life.EA has been rumored as a potential suitor for
the video game business of Vivendi Universal V.N , which Vivendi is said to be
shopping for as much as $2 billion.

But Chief Financial Officer Warren Jenson says that the shelf registration was not
made with any pending deals in mind. “If you look at our performance, we ended the
quarter with $1.2 billion in cash, so this is hardly a matter of needing cash per se,” he
said. “I’d put this in the category of good housekeeping. We’re going talk to everybody.”
Vivendi, still looking to sell assets to reduce its debt, has contemplated selling the
games business since that would not face the same complications as a spin-off of its
other U.S. entertainment assets, the source said

Last week, investment bank Investec said it had received indications of advanced talks
between Microsoft and the Franco-American conglomerate for Vivendi Universal Games.
Sources close to Vivendi have repeatedly said the company planned to either sell or float
all or part of the games division although no deal was imminent.”Nothing is ever definite
with Vivendi,” one source close to New York-based Vivendi Universal Games said.

Barry Diller, the media mogul who runs Vivendi Universal Entertainment, and Vivendi Chief
Executive Jean-Rene Fourtou are in separate talks on the future of those assets. The talks
revolve around Diller’s claim that he would be owed over $2 billion to cover tax liabilities in the
event of a sale.”It’s a nice tidy piece of the business they can carve out that Mr. Diller is not
entwined with,” the source said of the Vivendi game unit.
FXB, as always, will stay on top of this story, and bring you more as it developes.