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Vivendi nears sale of GVT with green light from Brazil: report

The logo of Vivendi is seen during the company's 2008 annual results presentation in Paris March 2, 2009. REUTERS/Charles Platiau
The logo of Vivendi is seen during the company's 2008 annual results presentation in Paris March 2, 2009. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - French media group Vivendi SA is likely to close a deal in the coming weeks to sell a stake in Brazilian telecoms unit GVT, after getting the government's nod to close a deal with DirecTV or a group of funds led by KKR & Co , newspaper Folha de S.Paulo reported on Sunday.

Vivendi may now accept a share swap as part of a deal to get closer to the 19 billion reais ($9.6 billion) it is asking for GVT, Folha reported, citing unnamed executives involved in negotiations. Final bids are expected by mid March, according to a Vivendi executive not named in the report.

DirecTV has said it will maintain its cash offer around 15 billion reais, according to Folha, but it could sweeten its bid with a share swap. The paper said a group of funds, including KKR and Brazil's Gavea Investimentos, had made a smaller offer that would leave Vivendi with a partial stake in GVT.

A spokeswoman for KKR in New York declined to comment on the report. Efforts to reach spokesmen for Vivendi in Paris, for DirecTV in New York and Gavea in Rio de Janeiro were unsuccessful.

Although GVT has been a growth driver for Vivendi, the French group has come to see funding its expansion as a burden that cannot yet be covered by GVT's cash generation.

GVT did not respond to a request for a comment.

In a meeting with Vivendi executives in the capital Brasilia, officials expressed their approval of a deal that would not concentrate control of Brazil's telecom market in the hands of its four biggest phone companies, Folha reported.

A spokesman for Brazil's communications ministry could not be reached for a comment.

($1 = 1.98 Brazilian reais)

(Reporting by Brad Haynes and Guillermo Parra-Bernal; Editing by Maureen Bavdek)

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