Vivendi Threatened with Fine as Messier Payoff Row Continues

10 December 2003

Vivendi Universal faces fines of €500,000 ($610,270; £350,431) a day if it does not produce board minutes relating to the payoff of ex-ceo Jean-Marie Messier.

The Paris Commercial Court this week declared that it does not have enough information to rule on whether Messier -- whose deal-making brought the media giant to the verge of bankruptcy -- should be paid a €20.5 million golden goodbye.

It has asked Vivendi to provide full minutes from relevant board meetings, rather than the extracts supplied to date, and to do so by January 26 or face fines.

The media group disputes Messier's payoff, claiming that his severance deal was never fully approved by the board. It insists it has handed over "all the relevant extracts from the minutes", but says it will supply the requested information as long as it remains confidential.

The payment has been frozen by courts on both sides of the Atlantic, pending further regulatory investigation. Messier will have to wait until March before the French court makes a decision.

Data sourced from: Times Online (UK); additional content by WARC staff