Vivendi Stock in Freefall as Investors Fear Cash Crisis

26 June 2002

Embattled Vivendi Universal boss Jean-Marie Messier faces another tough meeting with the media mammoth’s board after its stock price plummeted to a thirteen-year low.

Shares in the group, traded on the Paris bourse, crashed 23% on Monday to €18.75 ($18.19; £12.11), 69% down on the start of the year and almost 75% below their price when Vivendi purchased Seagram in December 2000. Despite recovering slightly on Tuesday, they slid to €17.40 early Wednesday morning.

The freefall follows a series of deals that panicked investors into fearing Vivendi faced a liquidity crisis. In a bid to reduce debt, the group sold a 15.6% stake in its Vivendi Environment unit. However, this deal occurred just two weeks before a placement of VE shares, suggesting the media giant could not wait that long for the cash boost.

Vivendi’s stock has also been held down by continued uncertainty over the sale of Italian pay-TV operator Telepiu to News Corporation [see story below].

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff