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Vivendi eyes stake in Indonesia's largest media company

Jakarta

VIVENDI SA, the French conglomerate backed by billionaire Vincent Bollore, is competing with Argyle Street Management to invest in the television operations of Indonesia's largest media company PT Global Mediacom, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Vivendi's broadcasting arm Canal+ is in early talks to spend more than US$400 million buying stakes in two units of Global Mediacom, the sources said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. It has expressed interest in acquiring roughly half of PT MNC Vision Networks, which controls the group's listed pay-TV arm and its high-speed internet unit, the sources said.

The companies are part of Indonesian tycoon Hary Tanoesoedibjo's MNC Group conglomerate, which has partnered with US President Donald Trump's family business on property developments in the country. As part of the deal, Canal+ is also negotiating the purchase of about 10 per cent of PT Media Nusantara Citra, which runs the group's free-to-air TV operations, the sources said.

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Shares of Global Mediacom jumped as much as 12 per cent in Jakarta trading on Tuesday, the most intraday in six months. Media Nusantara Citra rose as much as 2.7 per cent, the most intraday in more than three weeks.

Argyle Street, a Hong Kong-based investment firm, has separately expressed interest in buying about 49 per cent of MNC Vision Networks, the sources said. It has proposed first buying 25 per cent of the company from Global Mediacom in a deal valuing the business at about US$550 million, according to the sources.

The fund would later subscribe for new stock in a subsequent initial public offering of MNC Vision Networks, which it expects could take place next year, the sources said. MNC Vision Networks is the biggest shareholder of Jakarta-listed PT MNC Sky Vision, one of Indonesia's largest pay-TV operators.

The stake that the investors can ultimately acquire could be limited under Indonesian regulations, according to one of the sources. Discussions are at a preliminary stage, and they could fall apart, the sources added. Other bidders may still emerge, according to the sources. BLOOMBERG