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Is IPO a Possibility for Vivendi's NBC Universal Stake?

Vivendi chairman stays mum on plans for its 20% in the conglomerate.

Vivendi Chairman and Chief Executive Jean-Bernard Levy was conspicuously silent on Wednesday at the Goldman Sachs Communicopia Conference in New York when it came to the topic of the company's plans for its 20% stake in NBC Universal.


But one growing possibility seems to be an IPO, said one executive knowledgeable about the situation.


GE's option to keep its stake in NBC Universal -- or exit -- opens in two months. Until then, he said, the company will say nothing. 


GE has a deal in place that enables it to buy Vivendi's stake. If it declines, then Vivendi could spin it off to the public.


It does not appear that there is a likely single buyer for Vivendi's 20% stake in NBC Universal. Financial experts have speculated that Time Warner and Comcast have been contenders for the entertainment company as a whole, but GE has stated that it has no interest in selling the entire company.


NBC Universal has recently been valued at $30 billion-$35 billion, off almost $10 billion from one year ago.