French Fiasco

Following Messier's fall at Vivendi, investors ask, Are Big Media companies better off broken up?

In bringing an explosive end to his career as CEO of the Franco-American media giant Vivendi, Jean-Marie Messier managed a rare feat in the world of global business. He combined Gallic intransigence with Yankee arrogance to infuriate shareholders and employees on both sides of the Atlantic. The French hated him for selling out their culture, acting like a foreign mogul and moving to New York City. North Americans hated him for losing money and refusing to concede that his strategy had faltered. Even as the company's stock price descended to new lows, he spoke of running Vivendi "for another 15 years."...

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