As expected, Vivendi Universal has reduced its stake inFrench major UGC.

Following an agreement signed on December 31, 2003, Vivendiwill reduce its holdings in UGC from 58% to 40% resulting in a 56.2% ownershipfor UGC president Guy Verrechia and his family.

According to a statement released by Vivendi on Tuesday (Jan13) evening, the company will now hold 5 seats out of 14 on the UGC board andhas been freed from a previous agreement which stipulated that Vivendi must buyall UGC shares owned by the family resulting in the removal of "asignificant off-balance sheet commitment for Vivendi Universal."

Vivendi and UGC's family shareholders also signed anagreement which will see Vivendi sell its shares at a price of Euros 80m overthe next two years up until Dec 31, 2005.

The possibility of Vivendi divesting of its UGC stake wasfirst discussed in September shortly following the decision to sellVivendi's US entertainment assets to General Electric and NBC.