Vivendi Universal: In a Strategic Flux

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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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Case Details:


Case Code : BSTR054 Electronic Format: Rs. 500;
Courier (within India):Rs. 25 Extra
Business Strategy | Case Study in Management, Operations, Strategies, Business Strategy, Case Studies


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


The case examines the problems faced by the French media giant Vivendi Universal (VU), which led the company to post the country's biggest ever corporate loss of $ 25.6 billion in 2003. The case attempts to analyze how and why Jean Marie Messier's (VU's Chairman) ambitious plans to turn the water and waste management company into one of the world's largest media groups failed. Problems such as the lack of a proper strategic plan and the mismanagement of company funds have been studied in depth. The case also discusses the measures taken by Messier's successor Fourtou to save the company from becoming bankrupt and to restore investor confidence.


Understand the rationale behind a company decision to grow through mergers and acquisitions instead of growing internally

Appreciate the critical role careful and sound financial management as an important parameter in the acquisition process


  Page No.
France's Biggest Ever Corporate Loss 1
Background Note 1
Vivendi Under Messier 3
On a Buying and Selling Spree 3
The Beginning of the End 5
Mending The Mistakes 7
History Repeating Itself? 8
Exhibits 11


French media, Vivendi Universal, VU, corporate loss,$ 25.6 billion, 2003,Jean Marie Messier, VU, Chairman, water, waste management, strategic plan, mismanagement, Messier, Fourtou, bankrupt, investor confidence

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