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Let’s see, that’s television, cellular/wireless telephones and the Internet, plus all of the water stuff. Um, that’s huge.

WHAT’S A VIVENDI?

That’s What We’d Like To Know...And So
Would A Bunch Of People In Santa Monica
Vivendi is the world's number-one municipal water company, with more than 80 million customers. But there's more to the 150-year-old French company than just fresh water—they also provide wastewater and waste management services and produce energy through subsidiaries Dalka and Sithe Energies. Additionally, Vivendi operates construction businesses, provides road and rail transportation and manages real-estate property.

Its more exciting businesses include holdings in publisher Havas, film group Pathe, stakes in telecom provider Cegetel, 25% of British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) and 49% joint control of pay-TV provider Canal +. BSkyB, the U.K.'s largest pay-TV provider, is 40% owned by rupert murdoch',390,400);">rupert murdoch',390,400);">Rupert Murdoch. Canal + is Europe's largest pay-television operator. They are partnered with Vodaphone AirTouch in Vizzavi, a forthcoming European Internet portal.

Let's see, that's television, cellular/wireless telephones and the Internet, plus all of the water stuff. Um, that's huge.

On the money side, Vivendi's 1999 revenues were $41.88 billion, with a profit of $1.44 billion. Canal +'s revenue was $3.31 billion, with losses of $23 million.

The man at the helm of Vivendi is Jean-Marie Messier. He took over the company (then called Generale des Eaux) in 1996, streamlining the company by selling off much of its diverse assets and concentrating on water and communications. The 43-year old CEO is a graduate of France's top business school, Ecole Polytechnique, as well as the Ecole Nationale d'Administration. He worked for the French Treasury and as an advisor to the Ministry of Finance. Messier went on to work for five years at investment bank Lazard Freres before joining Generale des Eaux in 1994.

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