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An informal probe of


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Securities and Exchange Commission

is now a formal investigation, one of a handful the media conglomerate faces both here and in Europe.

The SEC took the step Tuesday, according to the company, which said it will cooperate fully with the probe. Formalizing an investigation primarily gives the SEC the power to issue subpoenas. Other investigations are being conducted by the U.S. attorney's office for the Southern District of New York, the Paris public prosecutor's office and the French stock-market watchdog, the Commission des Operations de Bourse.

Vivendi faces questions about the accuracy and timeliness of its financial disclosures. French authorities are looking into both issues under the company's former chairman, Jean-Marie Messier, who was ousted in early July.