I was interested in buying some shares of Vivendi (NOT interested in any recommendations/evaluations, the only reason I mention this specific company is that it's relevant to the question) and asked my investment advisor about it, referencing the ticker symbol I get when I look up "Vivendi stock" (VIV.PA).

He responds and quotes me a significantly higher price per share, and then explains that he was referring to VIVEF, and that the difference was they are traded on different exchanges.

But then when I looked up an article about the stock, it referred to another ticker symbol, VIVHY.

What are the differences among VIV.PA, VIVEF, and VIVHY that I should be aware of before purchasing shares? Why are the prices drastically different?

  • Some companies issue different classes of stocks and these would have different symbols and prices. Search the Internet for the differences between preferred stock and common stock. – Dilip Sarwate May 15 '12 at 18:47
  • 2
    Also, VIVEF and VIVHY.PK are traded on OTC markets, not regulated stock exchanges. – littleadv May 15 '12 at 18:57
up vote 2 down vote accepted

VIV.PA - is Vivendi listed on a stock exchange in Paris VIVEF - is Vivendi listed on the OTC Other Exchange. VIVHY - is Listed on the OTC:Pink Sheets.

A company can be listed on multiple exchanges, they are known as a dual-listed company. It's a corporate structure in which two corporations function as a single operating business through a legal equalization agreement, but retain separate legal identities and stock exchange listings. Pretty much all DLCs are cross-border, and have tax advantages for the corporations and their stockholders.

When a DLC is created, in essence two companies are created and have two separate bodies of shareholders, but they agree to share all the risks and rewards of the ownership of all their operating businesses in a fixed proportion, laid out in a contract called an "equalization agreement".

The shares of a DLC parents have claim to the exact same underlying cash flows. So in theory the stock prices of these companies should move exactly the same. However in practice there can be differences between these prices.

More info on OTC exchanges can be found here - keep in mind this info is from the company that runs these listings.

Over the counter stocks are held to a FAR lesser regulation standard.

I would recommend doing further interdependent research before pursuing any action.

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