Battle Lines Drawn

FRANCOIS MORI/AP

A helmeted bodyguard escorts Messier and Couture

His diminutive stature, imperial ego and empire-building ambitions have earned Vivendi Universal chairman and CEO Jean-Marie Messier Napoleonic comparisons in the past. Now he's got a potential Waterloo as well. This week the media and entertainment mogul will seek to survive external attack — and open rebellion within the company — during a crucial assembly of his board and shareholders. The April 24 showdown comes after his firing last week of Pierre Lescure, chairman and co-founder of the iconic French pay channel Canal Plus, whose outraged employees have joined critics in the investment community in demanding Messier's...

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