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CONCERN FOR THE ENVIRONMENT

Vivendi Pushes Back Its Vivendi Environment IPO, Blames Vichy Government
A delay in the initial public offering of Vivendi's environmental assets won't stop the French media giant from trying to conquer the U.S.

On Thursday (7/13), a decline in investor interest prompted the company to push back the IPO of Vivendi Environment, which includes its water and energy operations, to July 20. Vivendi also lowered the price range.

The listing is vital to Vivendi goal of attracting U.S. investors to its $29 billion bid for Universal Studio's parent company, Seagram Co. The initial IPO had been passed over by institutions, despite up to 90 percent of the 83.68 million new shares being reserved for them. Vivendi Universal will hold about 70 percent of Vivendi Environment.

Sources said Vivendi has submitted documentation to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and is simply awaiting a formal listing. According to one source, "It is Vivendi's intention to list as soon as they get their documents through the SEC. It is probably a matter of weeks, not months."

Concerns about the Seagram deal already forced Vivendi's share price down. Thursday's announcement pushed stocks back up.

Vivendi's transformation into a global contender may be difficult indeed. Said Val Kosmider, vice president of international equity trading at Handelsbanken: "I understand where they're coming from, but I think it's going to be a tough sell. The company is not particularly well known here in the U.S. and the onus will be on the company to get out and tell its story."

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