20131128

Bolloreal Politik

So Vivendi and SFR shall demerge, and Vincent Bollore replace Jean-Rene Fourtou at the helm of a group more centered on media and contents.

Officially, the idea is to raise the value of both entities by focusing each one on its core business, but demerging also paves the way for separation, and Vivendi presents a bride as pure as possible by keeping the telecom participations it failed to get rid of (Brazil's GVT and Poland's PTC). Maroc Telecom could be sold to Etisalat on time for June 2014 and the shareholders' meeting expected to confirm both the demerger and Bollore's triumph.

So long for Jean-Marie Messier's old dream of convergence? At least, that's the end of Fourtou's last hopes of controlling Bollore, a man who managed to take over with only 5% of the shares*, and who's not exactly known for centering on core businesses: Bollore Group is (among many other) into media, plastics, logistics, palm oil, real estate, electric cars and(!) coal.

This group badly needs a clear long term strategy, but if he's a bit more daring than Jean-Rene Fourtou, Vincent Bollore is not much of a visionary entrepreneur either. Arnaud de Puyfontaine has been drafted from Hearst to manage the core media and content activities, but can he inspire the group, and can the group handle the months ahead, very tricky at the financial and managerial levels? 

mot-bile 2013 

* his son Yannick led the sale of Bollore Media to Canal+ that brought the bulk of these shares. Now 33 and head of Havas (also a Bollore company), Yannick Bollore is married to a niece of Martin Bouygues, a key  rival of both Canal+ and SFR (TF1, Bouygues Telecom...). Note that President Nicolas Sarkozy, a known friend of Bouygues and Bollore, did his best to undermine Canal+ (a rather liberal channel), and even invited Qatar to launch beIN Sport in France (now 1.5 M subscribers thanks to its spectacular aggressiveness in sports rights)...



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