Vivendi Universal this week bought in 16.9 million of its shares after the Bronfman family sold off approximately a third of its holding in the media giant.

Edgar Bronfman Jr, who remains executive chairman of the group, said: "This sale reflects my family's desire to diversify our investment portfolio after the creation of Vivendi Universal last year. However, the substantial majority of our portfolio remains with Vivendi Universal."

Following the deal, which was conducted at Euros75.1, a 3% discount to the average weekly price, and brought in Euros1.27bn, the Bronfman family and its charitable trusts hold some 6.1% of the company.

Jean-Marie Messier, president and CEO, said, "This is a perfectly understandable family patrimonial decision after selling Seagram's control and at the end of the initial lock-up period. It clearly does not imply any appreciation on current stock price whose potential remains very high. I am glad they renewed their commitment to the group prospects and they remain our largest shareholders, which avoids any overhang on our stock."