French media conglomerate Vivendi seized the opportunity to expand into emerging overseas markets with the launch of an unsolicited, yet friendly cash bid of US $2.9 billion for Brazilian fixed-line operator GVT Holding S.A. Though small, GVT—a provider of fixed line telephony and broadband services to 2.3 million customers that comprise a 4% share of Brazil’s telecom market—is growing rapidly. In 2008, GVT reported a 34% surge in sales over the previous year while recording a 38.5% increase in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization over the same period. According to sources, Swarth Group and Global Village Telecom—the two largest shareholders of GVT that, together, control 30% of the carrier—have agreed to sell at least 20% of GVT’s outstanding shares to Vivendi. The pact will allow Vivendi to launch an offer for 100% of GVT’s share capital at R42 (US $23) per share, although Vivendi has said it must obtain at least 51% of that capital for the bid to proceed. If the offer succeeds, Vivendi would gain a key foothold in a vibrant Brazilian telecom market that is home to more than a third of Latin America’s wireline and wireless phone service customers. Vivendi would also compete head-to-head against Telefonica of Spain (the owner of Telesp, Brazil’s second-largest fixed line carrier) and Telecom Italia’s TIM Participacoes. Vivendi CEO Jean-Bernard Levy observed that the agreement with GVT’s largest shareholders “meets a strategic objective for Vivendi to expand in fast-growing economies.”