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"He is the main asset of the TV business in this company and I am the one in this company who knows a lot about TV… He needs shareholders who trust him."
—Canal Plus Chairman Pierre Lescure on USA Network Chairman Barry Diller
TV, FILM EXECS SAFE IN VIVENDI-SEAGRAM DEAL
Canal Plus Chairman Holds American Executives, Comedy Of Jerry Lewis In High Regard
Vivendi, the French conglomerate that is buying Seagram, said Friday that it plans to make no significant changes in top management at Seagram's Universal film and television operations, despite the industry's conventional thoughts.

Although there had been much speculation that Universal Studios president Ron Meyer would leave his post, Pierre Lescure, chairman of Canal Plus, the French pay TV company that Vivendi has a large stake in and plans to fully own, said he was intent on keeping Meyer and his top executives, The New York Times reports. Lescure has been tapped to run the combined company's film units.

Meyer has 5 years left on a 10-year contract, and if Hollywood settlements are any indication, it would cost Vivendi millions of dollars to terminate it early, the report said.

In a Times telephone interview Thursday, Lescure said that he knew Meyer and thought highly of him. Meyer would travel to Paris next week for meetings. Lescure also spoke highly of Stacey Snider, chairwoman of Universal Pictures.

"I have heard a lot about her, and she has the way to become a kind of Sherry Lansing," Lescure said, making reference to the Paramount chairwoman.

Lescure said he expected to visit Los Angeles, where the studio is based, after July 4th, and would spend about a quarter of his time there when his job is formalized.

After Vivendi's acquisition of Seagram is completed, it will control 43% of the USA Network. But, USA Chairman Barry Diller will not report to Lescure. Lescure did make it clear that he had high regard for "one of the top American executives."

"He is the main asset of the TV business in this company and I am the one in this company who knows a lot about TV… He needs shareholders who trust him," Lescure said, a seeming indication that Diller would receive support to expand his company.

There have been reports that Seagram, which could veto any USA Network deal that represents an investment larger than 10% of USA Network's market value, had opposed Diller's bid for NBC. That move reportedly created tension between Seagram CEO edgar bronfman',390,400);">edgar bronfman',390,400);">Edgar Bronfman Jr. and Diller.

Lescure did not mention the fate of any Universal Music Group executives, who, after the merger is complete, will continue to report to Bronfman, who will become vice chairman of the newly merged company.

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