20060306

Bells ringing - Vivendeals ahead

Baby Bells grew up since Ma Bell died. AT&T Jr and Verizon should snatch BellSouth and Qwest, and three years from now max, they somehow will have built an international stronghold in the wireless area.
Vodafone will sell (Verizon, Vodafone KK), but also buy. As rumors revived, the French government released a report on potential targets from France's CAC40 companies. Among them, Vivendi Universal are enjoying their own headline news : the "Universal" part is dropped, and SFR's lifetime ad agency, Publicis, just snatched the France Telecom - Orange budget. Maurice Levy can split his teams but not his own self. The new budget can definitely mean bigger money, but the risk should be taken only if Levy is sure of getting the whole Orange (especially after a Wanadoo rebranding), and not so sure of keeping the SFR business away from Vodafone adcos.

Vivendi could sell their cash cow but if they want to fight as a European leader in broadcasting an increasing competition, the timing looks perfect.



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