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Vivendi entertainment division sale in doubt as new bids sought

The long-running saga of Vivendi's entertainment unit - which houses the Vivendi Universal Games division - continued this week with news that the company is seeking new bids, but may decide not to sell after all.

The long-running saga of Vivendi's entertainment unit - which houses the Vivendi Universal Games division - continued this week with news that the company is seeking new bids, but may decide not to sell after all.

Business news publication Forbes has reported that many major players have withdrawn their interest in the entertainment division, which carries a price tag of some $14 billion according to Vivendi chairman Jean-Rene Fourtou.

Both Comcast and MGM are out of the bidding for the division, according to Forbes, with the high price cited as a key factor in their decision. Vivendi is accepting a second round of bids for the unit, but there's now a strong possibility that no sale will take place after all.

Instead, Forbes speculates that the company may be prepared to merge the assets of the entertainment division with a large American media group in return for stock; or may even hold on for a public offering at a later date, as was mooted last year for the games division.

Speculation over the future of the entertainment division as a whole has overshadowed any discussions on the future of the games division, as any decision on the entertainment unit would also include Vivendi Universal Games. However, it's not been confirmed that discussions on the separate sale of the games division have ended - last we heard, Take 2 Interactive was still interested in acquiring the unit, although if this interest persisted we'd have expected an announcement of some description by now.

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Rob Fahey

Contributing Editor

Rob Fahey is a former editor of GamesIndustry.biz who spent several years living in Japan and probably still has a mint condition Dreamcast Samba de Amigo set.