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Vivendi Universal

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continues to learn, New York is a place where people have expensive, messy divorces.

The Paris-based conglomerate said Monday that a New York state court had ordered the company to make a disputed 20.5 million euro payment to former chief executive officer Jean-Marie Messier.

Vivendi Universal says it will use "all legal options" to block a payment to Messier.

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Shares in Vivendi Universal fell 15 cents Monday to close at $17.55.

Messier, who attempted to transform a France-based utilities company into a global media and entertainment company, was ousted from Vivendi Universal last year after allegations that he had seriously misrepresented the company's financial health.

Since then, Messier's successor, Jean-Rene Fourtou, has attempted to improve Vivendi Universal's liquidity and cut its debt by divesting many businesses that the company had acquired under Messier's plan.

Earlier this month, Vivendi Universal said it had reached an agreement to combine its U.S. movie, television and theme park business with

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