THE MAN WHO TRIED TO BUY THE WORLD: Jean-Marie Messier and Vivendi Universal

Jo Johnson, Author, Martine Orange, Joint Author . Portfolio $25.95 (268p) ISBN 978-1-59184-018-3

Messier was a wunderkind of French business who at the age of 37 was appointed chief executive of Générale des Eaux. He had already served in the finance ministry under Jacques Chirac and been a managing partner with the investment banking firm Lazard Frères when he assumed leadership of Générale in 1994, and the water management company was one of France's largest corporations. Messier, however, did not see Générale's future in water and sewage management, but in the media and information world. To accomplish the transformation, Messier embarked on a dizzying buying spree highlighted by the $42 billion purchase in 2000 of Seagram, a deal that included Seagram's Universal assets. For Messier, the creation of the newly minted Vivendi Universal (which also bought Houghton Mifflin in 2001) was not only a personal triumph, but also a statement that a French company could compete on the world stage. But as Johnson and Orange show, Messier created a gulf between himself and the French establishment that left him with few allies as he tried to save his company when business conditions declined in 2001. In their briskly paced, insightful work, Johnson, the Paris correspondent for the Financial Times , and Orange, a reporter for Le Monde , relate Messier's many missteps that led to his fall from the top of the media world. Part of Messier's undoing was the disdain many French have for America's domination of the media and the belief that in merging with Seagram, Messier had sold out French culture. Given the French attitude about America as documented by Johnson and Orange, the recent strain in French-American relations comes as no surprise. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 10/27/2003
Release date: 11/01/2003
Show other formats
FORMATS
Hardcover - 352 pages - 978-0-14-101341-1
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.