The shares of StudioCanal have become the latest part of the Vivendi Universal galaxy to suddenly shine. In heavy trading on Wednesday the shares surged 20% from Euros9.39 to Euros11.20.
Stockmarket rumours suggest that Vivendi Universal is considering a bid for the 18% of the company that it does not already own. Vivendi Universal boss Jean-Marie Messier apparently remarked on Tuesday that such a move would make sense, but only in the medium term. Vivendi Universal offered no comment when contacted.
Rumour mongers suggest a takeout price of Euros17-Euros18. At that price, buying in the minorities would cost the parent group only Euros312m.
On Tuesday shares in Canal Plus, the unit that now only represents French pay-TV interests, soared 42% from a rebased Euros2.70 to Euros3.83. Vivendi Universal shares are also on their way up - on Wednesday they hit Euros78.42, after falling in initial trading on Monday to Euros74.0.
Floated as a tracking stock in May, StudioCanal is the content and distribution division that includes film catalogues, the international activities of the old Le Studio Canal Plus and video and TV programme production.
The company was floated at Euros15.6, but the shares have drifted steadily down since then. Brokers, however, see the potential for further significant gain. According to Reuters, Credit Lyonnais Securities Europe today reiterated its buy recommendation. It said the shares could hit Euros18 profiting either from a buy-in or as the company is used by Vivendi Universal as a vehicle for further production or rights partnerships.