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FT on spurned bid for UMG

NO SALE: The Financial Times reported today that Japanese telecom SoftBank floated an $8.5 billion cash bid for UMG three months ago but was turned down outright by the label group’s owner, Vivendi. Activist shareholders at Vivendi had been urging the French company to dispose of media assets. But Vivendi insisted music was central to its overall strategy of consolidating around entertainment—particularly given the consumption of music via mobile devices—and refused SoftBank’s offer. Needless to say, this is encouraging news for music valuation in general, which continues to rise, and UMG in particular. Why is the story breaking now? Is SoftBank hoping to pressure Vivendi back to the table by exposing the spurned offer to shareholders? The Japanese firm’s pending acquisition of Sprint Nextel was approved by the FCC on 7/5; its stock spiked in October after its sweetened offer of $21.6 billion for Sprint was accepted, but Standard & Poor’s lowered its credit rating to junk. (7/18p)

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