Investec: 'Microsoft to buy Vivendi Interactive'

Executives at Investec, a U.S.-based investment bank, announced today that they believe Microsoft is in negotiations to buy French media company Vivendi's interactive division.

(Ed Note: Before you get too excited, Vivendi Interactive is the gaming divison of Vivendi, not the part which controls other companies such as Universial Studios.

Jeff Van Rhee, Investec's director of enterprise software research, told Reuters he had received indications a deal was in the works. "There was some pretty actionable data that said something had just happened and things were heating up pretty quickly," he said.

This is not, however, exactly new news. Rumors have been persistent for months that Vivendi (which controls both Sierra and Blizzard) was interested in getting out of the game business, and at various times its games division has been said to be either going up for sale or it would make a public offering and go off on its own. Microsoft, being Microsoft, would love to snap it up, but both Sony and Electronic Arts have also expressed interest.

Vivendi, however, is reportedly asking between $1-2 billion, and Microsoft may be the only one with that kind of money to throw around (remember when they bought up Rare late last year for $375 million -- cash?). So as rumors go, this is pretty much a no-brainer. Is it true, and will it happen soon? That depends, on how good Investec's "actionable data" is.

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