Diller Resigns from Helm of Vivendi Entertainment Unit

20 March 2003

Entrepreneur Barry Diller (61) raised eyebrows around the globe’s media parish pump Wednesday with his unexpected resignation as co-ceo of Vivendi Universal Entertainment.

Said the tycoon, who is also ceo of cable giant USA Interactive: “Now that Vivendi Universal has begun a formal process in reviewing options for its entertainment assets, it is appropriate to step aside.”

Most onlookers see his statement as confirmation that Vivendi is about to hang a ‘for sale’ sign on its entertainment unit, whose properties include film studios and theme parks.

VUE has already received a $20 billion (€18.85bn; £12.77bn) offer from US oil tycoon Marvin Davis with whom Diller has previously experienced a corporate High Noon. Vivendi, however, dismissed Davis’ offer as too low [WAMN: 21-Jan-03].

Diller will return to USA Interactive as its fulltime boss, although his entrepreneurial wandering eye is likely to alight soon on another lucrative media opportunity – of which there will be more than few dangling when the UK government effectively creates an all-comers media bazaar all with its upcoming Communications Bill.

Data sourced from: multiple sources; additional content by WARC staff