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Vivendi Universal Faces Possible Breakup

Vivendi Universal, the parent corporation of Knowledge Adventure, Blizzard Entertainment, Sierra Entertainment, and Universal Interactive, is facing a possible breakup as the company struggles with a crushing debt load.
Shares in the company fell over 26 percent today, and CEO Jean-Marie Messier announced his resignation. Like the wave of accounting scandals that has hit American corporations, Vivendi has been accused of fudging its 2001 fiscal results by 1.5 billion euros. The company's mounting finanical problems came to a head over the weekend when French newspaper Le Monde revealed leaked memos from French regulators that indicated the extent of VU's accounting woes. One of the immediate tasks for the company is to pay down its 30 billion euro debt. The leading candidates for selloff are Vivendi's telecom unit, Cegetel, and assets of its French television unit, Canal Plus.

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