Vivendi said to have rejected SoftBank's $8.5-bn bid for Universal Music

French media and entertainment conglomerate Vivendi has rejected an $8.5 billion bid for Universal Music from Japan's telecoms group SoftBank Corp.

SoftBank's bid for Universal Music had come during its ongoing bidding war with Dish Network for control of US wireless service provider Sprint Nextel, before finally acquiring it (See: Sprint shareholders vote for SoftBank's $21.6-bn deal).

The Financial Times yesterday said that SoftBank had bid for the world's largest music group about three months ago and Vivendi rejected the offer since it sees the music company as central to its future strategy.

It said that SoftBank, Japan's third-largest mobile phone company, had made a very generous offer and Claudio Aspesi of Bernstein Research, valued Universal at $6.3 billion.

Vivendi has been under pressure from activist investor Vincent Bollore to restructure the company by spinning off its entertainment holdings, which include Activision Blizzard and French TV group Canal Plus.

The French media giant is already in the process of selling some assets like Moroccan telecom company Maroc Telecom, although it failed in selling its Brazilian telecom unit GVT and Activision Blizzard, the US-based video games company.

Based in California, Universal Music is the world's biggest music producer with more than 30 per cent share of the global market.

It has contracts with artists like Mariah Carey, Rihanna, Maroon 5, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Fergie, and Nicki Minaj.