Quantcast
"I look at Barry Diller as a guy with a wonderful track record in terms of value creation."
—Vivendi's Jean-Marie Messier

DILLER ROLE IN VIVENDI-SEAGRAM CLEARING UP

Messier To Depend On Diller For "Value Creation"—Which Means…Coupons Maybe?
You knew Barry Diller would play a major role in the Vivendi-Seagram merger even though the veteran mogul has been relegated to the sidelines of the proposed joint venture so far.

Vivendi CEO Jean-Marie Messier considers Barry Diller and his USA Network to be key assets—so much so, he said, that Diller will make one of seven presentations at a highly anticipated investor meeting in Paris next week, industry trade Variety reports.

"I look at Barry Diller as a guy with a wonderful track record in terms of value creation," Messier told financial analysts during a conference call Monday to discuss the French corporation's latest earnings (hitsdailydouble.com, 10/2).

Universal parent Seagram owns about 45% of USA, a stake that Vivendi will inherit assuming the two giants complete their merger. Messier reiterated that Vivendi has "a path to control" USA and "will be supportive of transactions that Barry Diller may consider."

Diller's deal with Seagram will let the Canadian-based entertainment giant work up to a majority stake in USA but still leaves Diller to run the shop with relative autonomy.

Seagram, however, can veto USA deals of a certain size, and Diller has had trouble getting Seagram CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr. to agree to some big-ticket purchases—like the acquisition of NBC.

The Vivendi-Seagram merger was cleared by U.S. antitrust regulators but still awaits a nod from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Across the Atlantic, the European Union has until Oct. 13 to issue its ruling. When the coast is clear, shareholders of Seagram, Vivendi and its separately traded Canal Plus unit, will vote on the deal, which Messier expects to close formally three days later. Execs hope the deal closes near the end of November.

The Paris meeting, to be followed by one in New York a week later is seen as an attempt to close the deal. Officials hope talks will clarify the shape of the entity, outline its products, and provide as much strategy and as many numbers as possible to the global financial community, Variety said.

NEW RELEASES: ELTON, LDR AND MO' MONEY
"Lockdown" and Lana. (10/25a)
HITS LIST, FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION
Grammy-themed, just like our latest print magazine. (10/25a)
NEAR TRUTHS: ROLLING
IN THE STREAMS
Audiences embrace Adele regardless of the platform. (10/25a)
KAREN KWAK TO LEAD WARNER A&R
Aaron's latest hire. (10/25a)
ON THE COVER:
OLIVIA RODRIGO
Can you hear the Grammy buzz? (10/25a)
ADELE ADELE ADELE
Adele; Adele Adele?
ADELE ADELE ADELE ADELE ADELE ADELE
A... dele?
ADELE ADELE
Adele Adele; Adele.
ADELE ADELE ADELE ADELE
(Adele.)
 Email

 First Name

 Last Name

 Company

 Country
CAPTCHA code
Captcha: (type the characters above)