Shares of debt-strapped media and utility conglomerate

Vivendi Universal

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were higher Wednesday morning after the company lined up a new $3 billion loan from a syndicate of 11 banks.

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The loan replaces a $1 billion loan negotiated two months ago and provides much-needed breathing room during which the company can attempt to fashion a strategy to get out from under some $20 billion in debt.

The loan will be shown to a larger group of creditors Wednesday and comes ahead of a board meeting next week in which Vivendi chief Jean-Rene Fourtou will outline a long-term plan to unload the company's water utility.

The shares were up 5.4% to $13.56 on the Instinet premarket.