Vivendi Universal director Claude Bebear didn't express his views on the merger talks between Vivendi's Universal Music Group (UMG) and Apple.
So, at least, a Vivendi spokesman claims in a Reuters article. Bebear's comments were originally reported by Bloomberg, a Reuters rival.
Said the spokesman: "Regarding a report by Bloomberg, Claude Bebear denies having given a view on any negotiations which may be underway." The spokesman was reading a prepared statement issued by Bebear.
"He believes that as a director it is not up to him to make such a declaration," the spokesman added.
Indeed, it isn't, and the statement is no doubt an attempt at damage limitation. It's hard to imagine that Bebear didn't express a view to Bloomberg, though he may have stated he was speaking off the record. Whether Bloomberg chose to quote him anyway or he inadvertently forgot to make such a disclaimer before discussing Apple and UMG, isn't known.
Either way, the cat's out of the bag. Indeed, Bebear's follow-up statement is hardly a denial. The Bloomberg report quotes Bebear stating that Apple may offer $6 billion for UMG, a figure he calls "a bit low". That same figure was first mooted by the LA Times report that first claimed Apple was talking to Vivendi about a UMG purchase. ®