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Diller Resigns from Helm of Vivendi Entertainment Unit

News, 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