Vivendi Universal: In a Strategic Flux|Business Strategy|Case Study|Case Studies

Vivendi Universal: In a Strategic Flux

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Case Details:

Case Code : BSTR054
Case Length : 17 Pages
Period : 1996 - 2003
Organization : Vivendi Universal
Pub Date : 2003
Teaching Note :Not Available
Countries : France
Industry : Media & Entertainment

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Vivendi Under Messier

In 1996, CGE's consolidated sales stood at 166 billion FRF, of which 51 billion FRF was generated outside France. In the same year, CGE established Cegetel, to provide telecommunication services in France.

The SFR mobile service business was also made a part of Cegetel. Messier started this company anticipating the deregulation of the French telecommunication market on January 1, 1998. Cegetel went on to become the country's leading private telecommunications operator in both fixed as well as mobile telephony services. In 1997, the company acquired a 47.5% stake in the New Zealand based United Water. CGE also bought a 30% stake in Havas and bought NetHold, the second largest pay TV operator in Continental Europe. These acquisitions helped the company strengthen its position in the communications sector. In the same year, Cegetel and SNFC (French National Railroad) formed a subsidiary, Télécom Development...

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On a Buying and Selling Spree

During the next couple of years, Vivendi acquired and sold business at a very rapid pace; the communications business especially witnessed a lot of reshuffling under Messier's supervision.

In 1999, Vivendi sold the outdoor advertising operations of Havas to J C Decoux of France and bought a 30% stake in Elektrim Telekomunikacja, a Polish telecommunications company. In the same year, Vivendi acquired a 23% stake in BskyB, a UK-based broadcasting company (the stake was sold off later due to pressures from the European Commission).

An attempted merger between Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation and Canal Plus failed due to disagreement between Murdoch and Messier over the control of the unified company. The year 2000 saw the company entering into a landmark deal: Messier announced a £ 66 billion merger between Canal Plus, Vivendi and the music, movies, spirits & wine major Seagram...

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