Vivendi UniversalVivendi Universal
was created in December of 2000 with the massive merger of the Vivendi
media empire with Canal+ television networks and the Canadian
, the owner of Universal Studios
film company. See Vivendi
for previous company history.
In 2001, VU acquired mp3.com and a leading American publisher, Houghton Mifflin.
In 2002, VU began facing financial trouble. It began financial reshuffling, trying to shore up media holdings while selling off shares in its spin-off companies.
During 2002, the company's Chairman and CEO, Jean-Marie Messier resigned, and the company and began reorganizing to stave off bankruptcy. Its largest single shareholder is the Bronfman family.