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Diller 'Happy' to End Up With NBC Universal Stake

November 07, 2003|From Bloomberg News

Barry Diller, who controls Web-commerce company InterActiveCorp, said he would be "happy" to retain his $2.5-billion stake in Vivendi Universal's U.S. media unit now that General Electric Co.'s NBC unit is buying the entertainment business.

Diller, during a conference call Wednesday with investors, said that although New York-based InterActiveCorp would consider selling "if we're presented with an alternative that's better for us," there have been no discussions about unloading the shares.

InterActiveCorp's investment in the Vivendi assets, which include the Universal film and television studios and theme parks, may give Diller rights to block GE from selling parts of the business, the Web-commerce company has said. Vivendi Chief Executive Jean-Rene Fourtou said when the sale to NBC was announced that he would negotiate with Diller about buying out his stake.

Diller received his stake in the Vivendi unit after selling InterActiveCorp's entertainment division, which included the USA cable-television network, to the Paris-based company last year.

Separately, Diller said InterActiveCorp would no longer publish its internal budget for investors.

The company, whose businesses include the travel Web site Expedia and the shopping network HSN TV, had published its internal budget for the last two years instead of issuing profit forecasts.

The budgets included projected sales, profit and cash-flow measures for each of its businesses.

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