Vivendi offers Eur 250 million for most of Dailymotion: source

Dailymotion website pages opened in an internet browser are seen in this photo illustration taken in Paris, May 3, 2013. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
By Gwénaëlle Barzic

By Gwénaëlle Barzic PARIS (Reuters) - French media group Vivendi has made a 250 million euro ($275 million) indicative offer for most of Dailymotion, the video-sharing website owned by French telecoms group Orange, a source said on Monday. The source said that Orange's board would meet on Tuesday to discuss Vivendi's proposal, confirming a report by French daily Le Monde published on Monday. "This is a long-standing industrial project," the source said, explaining that Canal plus, Vivendi's pay-TV unit, had made an earlier attempt to buy Dailymotion but had been rebuffed. Vivendi, Orange and the French government all declined to comment. Orange has been looking for a partner for over a year to help Dailymotion expand internationally to try to compete with much larger rival Google's YouTube. Vivendi's proposal comes after Hong Kong conglomerate PCCW said it had ended talks to form an alliance with Dailymotion, citing the French government's desire to see the video-sharing site remain in European hands. "The French government's preferred search for a European solution discourages international companies' participation," PCCW said in a statement explaining its decision. The French government, Orange's biggest shareholder with a 25 percent stake, said on Monday it never opposed the talks but had asked Dailymotion not to enter into exclusive discussions with PCCW before contacting all interested parties. "Orange pursues discussions and works towards submitting to the board in due time solutions that are being considered," France's economy ministry said. Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron said last Thursday that Orange should look at all offers for Dailymotion as France was seeking to promote a strong European digital sector. [ID:nL6N0WZ0LZ] In 2013, Orange was in talks to sell all or part of the site to Yahoo but the French government scuppered the deal over concerns about a promising start-up getting snapped up by a U.S. giant. Dailymotion counts 128 million unique visitors per month compared with 1 billion for Google's YouTube, and achieves less than 100 million euros ($110 million) in annual sales. Vivendi is currently facing pressure from U.S. hedge fund P. Schoenfeld Asset Management to increase the company's planned payout to shareholders from a 35 billion euro cash pile amassed from a series of disposals. [ID:nL6N0X00Z9] [ID:nL6N0WP0KX] ($1 = 0.9065 euros) (Additional reporting by Astrid Wendlandt and Yann Le Guernigou; Editing by Jean-Michel Belot and Ruth Pitchford)