Vivendi to Exit Water Business

Source: 
Reuters

Vivendi Universal signalled a pull-out from its historic water business today, lining up the sale of half its 40 percent stake in Vivendi Environnement and paving the way for a full retreat once options are exercised.

The deal raises Vivendi's end-2002 asset sale target to seven billion euros from five billion euros and provides crucial cash as Vivendi tries to pull together a four billion euro bid to prevent Vodafone taking over its French phone assets.

Vivendi said in a statement it had also finalised a deal to sell its U.S. book division Houghton Mifflin for 1.7 billion euros.

Sources close to the deal said earlier that Vivendi was in very advanced talks to sell part of its Environnement stake and could cancel part of its credit lines.

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