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  • luckybuck
    It was announced today that Vivendi will buy USA Networks Assets. It s unknown at this time how this will effect the Sci Fi Channel or our hopes of bringing
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 17, 2001
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      It was announced today that Vivendi will buy USA
      Networks Assets. It's unknown at this time how this
      will effect the Sci Fi Channel or our hopes of
      bringing Buck Rogers back to TV. You can also view the
      below article at:


      Monday December 17 1:04 PM ET
      Vivendi to Buy USA Networks Assets

      By ELAINE GANLEY, Associated Press Writer

      PARIS (AP) - Vivendi Universal is buying the
      entertainment assets of USA Networks Inc. in a $10.3
      billion deal to improve distribution of the French
      media giant's music and movies in the United States.

      The deal announced Monday is the latest chapter in
      Vivendi's remarkable transformation in just a few
      years from a water utility into a global media and
      entertainment powerhouse.

      Under the deal, Vivendi will combine USA Networks'
      assets such as the USA and Sci-Fi cable channels and
      the TV production operation responsible for ``Law and
      Order'' and ``Jerry Springer, with its own
      Hollywood-based Universal Studios.

      Universal has a huge film catalogue and its Universal
      Studios last year produced hits like ``How the Grinch
      Stole Christmas'' and ``Erin Brokovich.''

      For $10.3 billion in cash and stock, Vivendi will get
      a 93 percent stake in a new company that will be
      called Vivendi Universal Entertainment.

      USA Networks' Barry Diller, the entertainment industry
      veteran who ran the Paramount movie studio in the
      1970s and oversaw the launch of the Fox television
      network in the 1980s, will be chairman and chief
      executive of Vivendi Universal Entertainment.

      Vivendi, which acquired Universal from Canada's
      Seagram a year ago, hopes that Diller can expand its
      presence in the United States to compete with the
      likes of AOL Time Warner, Walt Disney Co. and Viacom.

      The deal follows Vivendi's agreement Friday to invest
      $1.5 billion in EchoStar Communications Corp., the
      second biggest U.S. satellite television service with
      about 6 million subscribers.

      In a statement, Vivendi said the two deals ``fully
      address Vivendi Universal's needs in terms of
      integration and distribution on the US market.''

      Investors seemed to like the fit, sending Vivendi
      shares up 4 percent, or $1.98, to $50.93 in early
      trading Monday on the New York Stock Exchange (news -
      web sites). Shares of USA Networks rose 43 cents to
      $24.25 on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

      Universal Studios was previously paired-up with Canal
      Plus Groupe, the European pay-TV group, within the
      Vivendi Universal organization. The new deal raises
      the question of Canal Plus' future status within the

      ``At the end of just one year, following our merger
      with Seagram and Canal Plus, we have put the pieces
      together in fulfilling our strategy,'' Vivendi
      Chairman Jean-Marie Messier said in a statement. ``We
      have focused on integration and addressing our
      relative distribution weakness in the U.S.''

      After the deal closes, Diller will retain control of
      the interactive businesses currently grouped under USA
      Networks, which include Ticketmaster, HSN, and
      Citysearch. A deal to acquire the online travel
      service Expedia is pending. The new company, over
      which Diller will have full control, will be renamed
      USA Interactive Inc.

      Vivendi will finance the deal by selling 314 million
      USA Network shares it already owns, as well as selling
      32 million of its shares in exchange for part of
      Liberty Media Corp.'s stake in USA Networks.

      Vivendi will pay another $1.6 billion in cash and $750
      million in various deferred payments, the statement

      A portion of the cash financing will be provided from
      proceeds of the sale two weeks ago of 9 percent of
      Vivendi Environment. Vivendi also divested 8 percent
      in British broadcaster BSkyB last week and is expected
      to cash in $8 billion from the sale of the beverage
      assets it acquired in the Seagram deal.

      Liberty Media is to sell its 27 percent stake in cable
      TV company Multithematiques to Vivendi Universal for
      5.2 million Vivendi Universal shares. That will give
      Liberty a 3.6 percent stake in Vivendi and make the
      U.S. company Vivendi's biggest institutional

      USA Networks produces TV shows and made-for-TV movies
      through Studios USA. It is selling the 13 television
      stations it owns to Univision, the Spanish language
      television company.


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