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Vivendi Universal

BUSINESS
January 24, 2004 | Jeff Leeds, Times Staff Writer
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.
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BUSINESS
January 13, 2004 | From Bloomberg News
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.
BUSINESS
December 24, 2003 | Richard Verrier, Times Staff Writer
Vivendi Universal will pay a $50-million fine and former Chief Executive Jean-Marie Messier will relinquish a controversial $25-million severance package to settle charges that they misled investors about the media conglomerate's financial problems. Under a settlement reached with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Messier also will pay a $1-million fine and former Chief Financial Officer Guillaume Hannezo will be required to pay a $120,000 penalty and return $148,000.
BUSINESS
December 23, 2003 | From Associated Press
Vivendi Universal is in talks with the Securities and Exchange Commission in hopes of reaching a last-minute settlement in its 18-month probe into the French entertainment and telecom giant, a source familiar with the discussions said Monday. The SEC, which is investigating possible breaches of accounting law by Vivendi while Jean-Marie Messier was chief executive, obtained a court order on Sept. 24 to freeze Messier's $23-million severance payment for 90 days while it completes the probe.
BUSINESS
November 12, 2003 | Jeff Leeds
Vivendi Universal would buy DreamWorks SKG's recorded-music division and continue to distribute the entertainment firm's films until 2010 under new pacts announced Tuesday. Vivendi, which would pay an estimated $100 million for DreamWorks Records, plans to place the label under its Universal Music Group. The deal, the outlines of which were reported more than a week ago, signals DreamWorks' abandonment of a costly effort to build a competitive label from scratch.
BUSINESS
October 11, 2003 | Jube Shiver Jr., Times Staff Writer
Setting the stage for a potentially lengthy and contentious antitrust examination, the Federal Trade Commission has indicated that it -- rather than the Justice Department -- would review a proposed merger of entertainment operations by Vivendi Universal and General Electric Co.-owned NBC, sources close to the agency said.
BUSINESS
October 10, 2003 | Jon Healey
Vivendi Universal subsidiary VUNet USA has agreed to sell Emusic.com Inc., a pioneering online music service, to a New York investment firm for an undisclosed amount, the company said. The sale to Dimensional Associates, which is expected to close at the end of October, could bring an end to Emusic's offer of unlimited downloads from independent record labels for as little as $10 a month. Jon Healey
BUSINESS
October 9, 2003 | Richard Verrier and Meg James, Times Staff Writers
The long and often tortured script for Universal Studios was put to bed Wednesday as French-owned Vivendi Universal and General Electric Co. finalized an agreement to marry their entertainment assets in a deal that could spur far-reaching changes in Hollywood. As was widely anticipated, the two companies agreed to create an entity that combines the Universal movie studio, theme parks and TV businesses, including the Sci Fi and USA cable channels, with GE's television operations.
BUSINESS
September 25, 2003 | Richard Verrier, Times Staff Writer
Vivendi Universal narrowed its loss in the second quarter, but revenue gains came from its French-based pay-TV and telecom businesses, not the U.S. entertainment group expected to partner with General Electric Co.-owned NBC in the next few weeks. Vivendi reached a preliminary deal with GE this month to combine its movie studio, theme parks and TV business with NBC's network and cable channels, creating an entertainment giant valued at more than $40 billion.
BUSINESS
September 25, 2003 | Alex Pham
Vivendi Universal Games, a subsidiary of French entertainment conglomerate Vivendi Universal, has sued Interplay Entertainment Corp. for allegedly violating a contract that gives Vivendi exclusive rights to publish Interplay's games. The suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, claims that Irvine-based Interplay made "flagrant attempts to terminate VUG's exclusive rights" to publish its games. Neither Vivendi nor Interplay returned calls seeking comment.
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