Vivendi Universal ( V) talked tough Tuesday as investors awaited word of a major asset sale. In an audiocast meeting with investors Tuesday, the Paris-based media conglomerate insisted it held the trump cards as it prepares to dispose of its U.S.-based entertainment businesses. Chief Financial Officer Jacques Espinasse told investors Vivendi had six potential buyers for its Vivendi Universal Entertainment assets, which include film, television and theme park operations. In addition, he said, the company would not be pressured to sell the property cheaply, and it could do an initial public offering of VUE's shares as an alternative to an asset sale. "We are not in a corner," Espinasse said. "There is a floor under which we will not go." Investors -- perhaps hoping that Espinasse had more substantial progress to report on VUE -- sent Vivendi Universal's shares down 44 cents to $20.19.
Rather than the company's operational results, however, the company's financial restructuring has been the focus of investors' attention over the last months. After the company was brought to its knees by an acquisition spree led by former CEO Jean-Marie Messier, new chief Jean-Rene Fourtou has occupied himself with averting a cash crunch, reducing debt and restoring Vivendi Universal to a self-sustaining business.