Vivendi Chief Sets Deadline

Vivendi Universal Chief Executive Jean-Rene Fourtou told a group of Universal executives Thursday that he hopes to reach a decision on the future of movie studio, theme parks and television properties by the summer.

As he has said previously, Fourtou told about 300 executives at Universal Studios that he was weighing various scenarios, including a merger with another media company, a public offering or outright sale, a company spokeswoman said.

Fourtou indicated he hoped to keep the Universal businesses together, but didn't rule out selling them separately. Fourtou did not say which course he favors, acknowledging only that he had been in discussions with several prominent industry players.

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