French communications and media giant Vivendi and its Canal Plus pay TV subsidiary confirmed they are negotiating a potential megamerger with Seagram Co., the Canadian drinks marketer that also owns Hollywood's Universal Studios and major recorded music operations. Canal Plus has a major movie operation in Europe and Vivendi has a joint venture with Britain's Vodafone, called Vizzavi, which could become a major pan-European Internet portal. Vivendi also controls a 13% stake in Havas Advertising, the world's fourth largest ad organization as ranked by Advertising Age
. Vivendi did not disclose details about the terms of any likely deal. Analysts immediately compared a Vivendi/Seagram merger to the pending America Online/Time Warner combination, since both would bring together entertainment, media and Internet assets into a single global company.
Copyright June 2000, Crain Communications Inc.