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Vivendi to discuss Activision special dividend: WSJ

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

PARIS (Reuters) - Vivendi may push for its Activision Blizzard video games division to pay a special dividend that would net the French group around $2 billion to help it cut its debt pile, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

The board of Vivendi will discuss the move at a regular meeting on Monday and may press for the unit's own board members to approve it at a meeting later this week, the newspaper added.

Six of eleven Activision board members are from Vivendi group or its units.

Conglomerate Vivendi has been working on reducing its exposure to telecoms to focus more on its media businesses in the past year. It is in the advanced stages of selling its 53 percent stake in Maroc Telecom to Gulf operator Etisalat .

The effort to access Activision's $4.3 billion in cash would help it cut debt at a time when its main profit driver, French telecom operator SFR, is suffering from competition.

Sealing both deals could pave the way for Vivendi to find a solution for SFR, which could be an initial public offering or splitting it off into a separate company sometime next year.

People familiar with the situation confirmed that Vivendi would hold its quarterly board meeting on Monday and that Activision and Maroc Telecom would be discussed.

Vivendi declined to comment on the report.

Vivendi shares were down 0.5 percent at 15.44 euros at 0747 GMT (3.45 a.m ET), while the French blue-chip CAC 40 index <.FCHI> was down 0.1 percent.

(Reporting by Leila Abboud and James Regan; Editing by Louise Heavens)

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