VUE-NBC merger close after Vivendi, Diller deal

22nd April 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, April 21 (AFP) - French communications and media group Vivendi Universal said Wedensday it had signed an agreement with InterActiveCorp, the holding firm of US media tycoon Barry Diller, opening the way for the merger of its US unit and GE's NBC.

PARIS, April 21 (AFP) - French communications and media group Vivendi Universal said Wedensday it had signed an agreement with InterActiveCorp, the holding firm of US media tycoon Barry Diller, opening the way for the merger of its US unit and GE's NBC.

Vivendi said it and IAC had "agreed on the form" of the letters of credit IAC would receive in return for unwinding its shareholding in Vivendi's Vivendi Universal Entertainment US business.

The French company needed an agreement with IAC in order to complete the sale of its Vivendi Universal Entertainment unit to General Electric Co's NBC.

Vivendi also said it will drop its pending lawsuit against IAC once the arrangement with Diller's company goes into effect.

No financial details were given.

Vivendi had been in negotiations with IAC over the payment of a USD 620 million (EUR 524 million) tax bill, which IAC considered Vivendi's responsibility to pay.

The conflict was a question of how to interpret an agreement signed at the end of 2001 for Vivendi's purchase of USA Networks which created Vivendi Universal Entertainment. The remaining activities of USA Networks were renamed USA Interactive.

Vivendi and General Electric agreed in September to merge Vivendi Universal Entertainment with NBC into a new company owned 80 percent by the US group and 20 percent by the French group.

NBC Universal - with assets ranging from the NBC US television network to the Universal film studios, as well as cable networks and theme parks - is to be headed by GE vice chairman and NBC chairman and chief executive Bob Wright.


© AFP

                                                 Subject: French news

 

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