Date: 16th October 2000

European Union Oks Vivendi-Saegram Merger

Surprising several analysts, The European Union on Friday gave conditional approval to Vivendi's $25.8 billion acquisition of Seagram after Vivendi presented a list of compromises aimed at lifting the EU's antitrust concerns.

In particular, Vivendi agreed to divest itself of its 20-percent stake in Britain's home-satellite company, BSkyB. Later, Vivendi chairman Jean-Marie Messier, said that the divestiture would be spread over two years so that it could be accomplished "in the most harmonious conditions possible."

Asked about news reports Friday in which analysts predicted that the EU would delay action for four months in order to probe the deal further, Messier told today's (Monday) Wall Street Journal that it was "all the more satisfying to win when you've been tipped as a loser."

Source: Studio Briefing