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VIVENDI-SEAGRAM:
CHAMPAGNE CHILLING?

French Board Approves Merger As Rich Guys Prepare To Get Much Richer
France's Vivendi looked poised to secure a $33 billion three-way tie-up with Canadian liquor and entertainment group Seagram after its board backed a merger plan on Monday and scheduled announcements for Tuesday morning.

Analysts said that the French media, telecoms and utilities group had called them to a Tuesday meeting to detail the expected takeover of Seagram by Vivendi and its 49-percent-owned pay TV unit Canal Plus.

Vivendi boss Jean-Marie Messier said on the sidelines of a separate Internet-related event on Monday that the Vivendi and Canal Plus boards had unanimously approved plans for a merger. He declined further comment ahead of the outcome of a Seagram board meeting.

The three firms are expected to hold a joint news conference in Paris on Tuesday.

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