Vivendi Universal faces heightened regulatory scrutiny after America’s Securities & Exchange Commission upgraded its inquiry into the media mammoth from ‘informal’ to ‘formal’ status.

The SEC may now subpoena third-party firms such as Vivendi’s lawyers and accountants.

Although the watchdog declined to reveal what exactly it is investigating, the probe is said to involve both account-keeping and disclosure of financial statements.

Vivendi is no stranger to such scrutiny -– it is already under investigation by French judicial authorities and by the US Attorney’s office for the southern district of New York over the alleged release of deceptive financial information under controversial former boss Jean-Marie Messier.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff