AOL buys Vivendi's AOL France stake

As expected, America Online has bought Vivendi Universal's 55% stake in AOL France in a $725 million stock swap.

Under terms of the deal unveiled by AOL Friday, Vivendi units Cegetel and Canal Plus will exchange their share in AOL France for $725 million worth of junior preferred shares of AOL Europe. The share pay a 6% dividend and are redeemable in April 2003 for cash, AOL Europe common stock or AOL Time Warner stock.

Vivendi has been looking to sell its shares in AOL France since last year. The sale is a prerequisite for Vivendi to introduce Web services in France through Vizzavi, a portal joint venture between Vivendi and Vodafone Group. - Richard Tedesco