May 31, 2004 |
Now that General Electric Co. owns five theme parks, what's it going to do with them? The industrial giant spent $14 billion to buy Vivendi Universal's armory of entertainment properties, keen on teaming up a celebrated movie studio and collection of cable television channels with the GE-owned NBC empire. Universal's theme park division and its 15,000-plus employees around the world came along for the ride, which won't be smooth.
May 28, 2004 |
Vivendi Universal said its first-quarter loss narrowed to $7.3 million from $344 million a year earlier. Revenue declined 4% to $7.3 billion, the French conglomerate said. Earnings rose 15% to $298 million at Vivendi Universal Entertainment, the company's U.S. movie and TV affiliate, mostly because of results from its Universal Television Group and improvements at its Universal Parks and Resorts division. Operating income at Universal Pictures Group was down 13%.
May 14, 2004 |
Barry Diller, who controls Internet commerce company InterActiveCorp, sold his personal stake in Vivendi Universal Entertainment for $275 million after Vivendi Universal exercised a call right. Paris-based Vivendi, which completed the sale of its U.S. media assets to General Electric Co.'s NBC on Wednesday, bought Diller's 1.5% stake, Vivendi Chief Operating Officer Jean-Bernard Levy said. InterActiveCorp will keep its 5.
April 22, 2004 |
Barry Diller has made up with Vivendi Universal, ending a nasty transatlantic feud that threatened to delay one of the biggest media deals in years. The French conglomerate Wednesday announced that it had reached an agreement with Diller's InterActiveCorp to void certain restrictions his company held over the Universal movie, theme parks and TV assets being sold to NBC.
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 21, 2004 |
Oil Prices Surge, Posing Threat to the Economy The price of crude oil hit its highest level in 13 years, raising the risk to an economy struggling to create jobs. The price for the benchmark grade of U.S. crude jumped 70 cents to $38.18 a barrel in New York trading Wednesday. It hadn't closed at that level since Oct. 16, 1990. On Friday, the price was $38.08. The chief catalyst for the latest run-up was an Energy Department report showing that U.S.
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.