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Diller Reaches for the Tiller at Vivendi

The media conglomerate looks stateside for an answer to its many problems.

Barry Diller appears to be firming up his grip on

Vivendi Universal's

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U.S. entertainment assets.


reported Wednesday that Diller, the chairman of Vivendi's majority-owned Vivendi Universal Entertainment, would be taking a bigger leadership at the parent company, perhaps as co-chief executive of Vivendi Universal.

VUE currently controls Vivendi's U.S. movie and television operations, but under the reported Vivendi plan, VUE would also encompass the Universal Music Group operation as well as video games and theme parks.

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A Vivendi Universal spokeswoman wasn't immediately reachable for comment.

Diller, who is also chief executive of the e-commerce company

USA Interactive

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, has been an obvious candidate for taking a larger role in Vivendi Universal's operation, even before Jean-Marie Messier, the company's onetime CEO, departed earlier this year.

It had been speculated, for example, that Vivendi Universal would spin off VUE into a Diller-controlled entity. Putting that scenario on hold temporarily, Vivendi Universal's new CEO, Jean-Rene Fourtou, said in September that VUE

would remain in the parent company's fold until some time off in the future.

Vivendi Universal's shares fell 57 cents Wednesday to trade at $12.03.