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According to the Vivendi ruler, in between gargling "the best French distilled water" this side of the Atlantic, "it's a matter of days, or even hours," for an agreement to be announced.

VIVENDI RETURNS
AOL FRANCE TO SENDER

Ooh La La...Messier Returns AOL To Sender
Vivendi Universal SA is close to selling its 55% stake in AOL France back to AOL Time Warner as it shifts its focus to its Net venture with Vodafone Group Plc., according to Vivendi Chief Executive Jean-Marie Messier.

According to the Vivendi ruler, in between gargling "the best French distilled water" this side of the Atlantic, "it's a matter of days, or even hours," for an agreement to be announced.

Messier made his remarks at a press conference on the company's plan to give all its employees computers.  The only problem is, the desktop machines were Commodore 64.

Vivendi started trying to swap its stake in AOL France for a stake in AOL Europe over a year ago, so it would have access to more customers for its media and publishing titles. When talks broke down, it decided to sell its stake in AOL France.

"I couldn't get Instant Messaging in French," complained Messier.  "Now, let's watch 'Nutty Professor' again, no?"

In August, AOL France said it had about 600,000 users, half of which proclaimed "Jerry Lewis is God." AOL had 4.6 million subscribers in Europe in January, up from 3.9 million in October.  AOL France subscribers spent more than 10 times longer on its website than subscribers to its rivals, consumed 3.4 more glasses of wine at lunch and reeked of 75% more garlic.

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