Electricite de France, the dominant French state owned electricity group, says that it has not bought any shares of Vivendi Environnement, denying a report by the French Le Nouvel Observateur magazine. “EDF formally denies proceeding with purchases of shares of Vivendi Environnement,” the head of press relations said, adding that company policy prohibits her from being named. Asked if anyone has bought shares on the power company's behalf, she replied that “no one has bought anything for anyone.” Le Nouvel Observateur said on that its Web site that Electricite de France was amassing a stake in Vivendi Environnement, the world's largest water company, through the French bank Dexia. The magazine did not identify the people who gave it the information. Vivendi Universal, which owns sixty three percent of Vivendi Environnement, has said that it intends to reduce its stake to below fifty percent. The French government has authorized Electricite de France to buy a stake as it seeks to keep the water company in French hands, the magazine said.
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