Vivendi Completes USA Deal

Times Wire Services

Vivendi Universal has completed its $10.3-billion purchase of the entertainment business of USA Networks Inc., giving the world’s second-biggest media company the USA Network and Sci-Fi channel, the companies said.

USA Networks Chief Executive Barry Diller will become the head of Vivendi Universal Entertainment, which will be 93%-controlled by Vivendi, said Vivendi spokeswoman Anita Larsen.

Vivendi’s American depositary receipts, each representing one common share, fell 69 cents to $27.57 on the New York Stock Exchange. USA Networks shares rose 33 cents to $29.81 in Nasdaq trading.

Diller on Tuesday denied reports that the French media conglomerate is considering a spinoff of the combined entertainment company.


“It is unconditionally not in the works. There will be no split-off of the joint venture known as Vivendi Universal Entertainment. Period, full-stop,” Diller said.

USA Networks Inc. will be renamed USA Interactive after the completion of the transaction with Vivendi.

USA Interactive will continue to trade as USAI on Nasdaq.