April 2, 2004 |
Gearing up for its planned acquisition of Vivendi Universal's entertainment holdings, NBC on Thursday hired a former deputy in the Bush administration to become the company's new chief communications officer. Anna Perez, 52, most recently served as deputy assistant to President Bush and as communications advisor to National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. She went to work for the White House two weeks before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and left the administration in December.
March 30, 2004 |
Jean-Marie Messier, the beleaguered former chief executive of Vivendi Universal, asked Monday to be placed under investigation in a judicial probe into alleged share price manipulation by the French media and entertainment company. Messier, who left Vivendi in July 2002, said in a statement that he accepted responsibility for a share buyback the previous year, which the company's accusers say broke French stock market laws.
March 25, 2004 |
Vivendi Universal's suit to force media mogul Barry Diller to get out of the way of a deal with NBC will go to trial in Delaware Chancery Court in May, after a ruling from the judge overseeing the case. Vice Chancellor Stephen Lamb granted Vivendi's request to expedite the matter, which the company said must be resolved before its U.S. unit, which includes the movie and TV studios, could be bought by NBC.
March 25, 2004 |
Seeking to tap the lucrative action-thriller-urban genre audience, specialized film label Focus Features is launching Rogue Pictures to handle those broad-appeal films at some remove from the artier, more sophisticated fare offered by the distributor of Academy Award winners "Lost in Translation" and "The Pianist." Dimension Films, the genre division of Miramax Films, is the model for Rogue.
March 18, 2004 |
Barry Diller's former French bosses say the entertainment-mogul-turned-Internet-entrepreneur continues to muck things up for them. Vivendi Universal said Wednesday that it had filed a lawsuit claiming that Diller was standing in the way of its plans to sell its movie studio, theme parks and cable TV channels to NBC. Vivendi claims in the suit that Diller, chairman of InterActiveCorp, is wielding his control over some of those assets to "gain leverage" in a separate tax dispute with Vivendi.
February 24, 2004 |
Vivendi Universal said allegations by an association of small shareholders that minutes of a board meeting were falsified were "completely groundless" and "libelous." The group, called Appac, has filed a complaint claiming the company's senior management forged documents. "There are no inconsistencies or falsifications in the minutes or extracts of minutes," Vivendi said.
February 11, 2004 |
The video game arm of Vivendi Universal, redoubling its production efforts under a new management team, said it had signed an exclusive deal with Radical Entertainment that includes the right to buy the privately held firm. Vivendi Universal Games said Radical would develop six multi-platform titles based on new and existing franchises. It will have the right to buy Radical at any time during the deal. Radical most recently developed "The Simpsons: Hit & Run" for VU Games.
February 6, 2004 |
Vivendi Universal, which is selling its Hollywood studios and cable networks to General Electric Co.'s NBC, said fourth-quarter revenue fell 9% to $9.08 billion as music sales declined and the dollar weakened. Revenue at Universal Music Group fell 19% to $2.1 billion. The unit suffered from a 17% decline of the dollar against the euro in 2003 and "difficult music market conditions." Revenue at Vivendi Universal Entertainment declined 4% to $2.2 billion, hurt by the declining dollar.
January 24, 2004 |
Launching a surprising raid on the world's biggest record company, Edgar Bronfman Jr. is close to signing Vivendi Universal rap mogul Lyor Cohen to a top post at the newly constituted Warner Music Group, sources said Friday. The deal -- which is said to include an equity stake in Warner for Cohen -- could be announced as soon as this weekend.
January 13, 2004 |
Vivendi Universal said it had named Rene Penisson, a former executive at French chemicals maker Aventis, chairman of its games unit as it focused on expanding the business "aggressively." The Paris-based media firm also appointed Bruce Hack, the vice chairman of its music business, Universal Music Group, chief executive of Vivendi Universal Games.