Vivendi Universal began trading Monday on the Paris Stock Exchange's CAC 40 index. According to published reports. The new company received a lukewarm reception on its first day of trading, losing 1.6% to close at 74 euros ($64.89).

VIVENDI UNIVERSAL DEBUTS AS SUITORS LINE UP TO BUY BOOZE

Liquor Business? Can I Buy Her Dinner First?
At least three companies on Monday (12/11) submitted offers for Seagram's liquors business, on the first trading day of Vivendi Universal, the company that emerged from the recently approved merger of Vivendi, Canal Plus and Seagram (hitsdailydouble.com, 12/8).

Because of interest in their booze business, Vivendi will likely secure a price of more than $7.5 billion for these assets.

The three bidders are Allied Domecq; a joint venture between Diageo and Pernod-Ricard; and a partnership of Bacardi and Brown-Forman.

In related news, Vivendi Universal began trading Monday on the Paris Stock Exchange's CAC 40 index. According to published reports. The new company received a lukewarm reception on its first day of trading, losing 1.6% to close at 74 euros ($64.89). Vivendi Universal, the most actively traded stock Monday, becomes the fourth-largest company on the CAC 40, France's premium share index, behind France Telecom, oil giant TotalFinaElf and engineering and technology group Alcatel. The company is also listed in New York, where it closed Monday at 65, up 1.88.

A party celebrating the completion of the deal was attended by Vivendi Universal Chairman/CEO Jean-Marie Messier, Vice Chairman Edgar Bronfman Jr., Universal Studios President/CEO Ron Meyer and Universal Music Group Chairman/CEO Doug Morris. The executives personally greeted more than 1,000 guests who lined up as if they were at a wedding, news reports said.

Meanwhile, Brian Mulligan has resigned as Executive VP/CFO of Seagram. According to a statement, Mulligan—who will consult for Vivendi Universal—turned down "several opportunities" within the merged company.

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