For Fourtou, Breaking Up is Hard to Do

MEHDI FEDOUACH/STF-AFP

Even Jean-René Fourtou, Vivendi's new CEO, seems puzzled. "We can continue to build an international media and communications company," he wrote to investors last week, but "with what strategy?" There may be order behind his confusion — Vivendi's last CEO, Jean-Marie Messier, was criticized for depressing the price of assets he planned to sell by broadcasting his intentions. As Fourtou sells j10 billion in assets to service Vivendi's debt, that's not a mistake he can repeat. Yet he must also be genuinely perplexed by his options. "My sense is that they would like to push forward with a European strategy, significantly...

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