Vivendi Universal's board meets this afternoon in Paris to review the final bids for the company's US entertainment assets.

However, insiders at Vivendi are cautious when it comes to confirming a formal decision today. "The board will either say they want to go into deeper talks with all of the remaining bidders or into exclusive talks with one," offers one person close to the situation who adds, "I don't think we'll hear anything definitive today."

Vivendi's three month auction process for assets including Universal Studios and the USA cable network has whittled down bidders down to just two main contenders.

John Malone's Liberty Media pulled out of the race at the weekend citing a too-high asking price.

That leaves bids from General Electric's NBC, which is widely considered the favourite, and a consortium led by Vivendi Vice Chairman Edgar Bronfman Jr.

NBC plans to merge its businesses - including Spanish-language network Telemundo, cable news outfits CNBC and MSNBC and arts and entertainment channel Bravo - with Universal Studios, its movie catalogue and cable channels.

According to reports, Vivendi would then take a 25% stake in the new company over three years.

Bronfman comes to the table with a consortium of private investors including the Thomas H. Lee and Blackstone groups and bidders including Cablevision Systems Corp. His bid, which includes $8bn in cash and assumed debt, would present an immediate solution to Vivendi's liquidity problems.