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Canada OKs Vivendi-Seagram union

Competition Bureau won't challenge deal

The Canadian Competition Bureau has concluded its review of the proposed merger of Montreal-based Seagram and France’s Vivendi and Canal Plus without objections.

Seagram, parent to Universal Studios and Universal Music Group, announced Wednesday that the bureau had informed officials Tuesday it wouldn’t challenge the transaction. Canada’s Dept. of Canadian Heritage and Industry still must issue approvals.

U.S. hurdles already have been cleared, with the Securities and Exchange Commission having blessed the deal. Some European review is pending, with the European Commission recently asking Vivendi to resubmit its report on the proposed merger.

Vivendi, the Paris-based utilities-and-entertainment conglom, has proposed acquiring spirits-and-entertainment concern Seagram for $40 billion. In a related deal, Vivendi plans to acquire the balance of Euro pay TV giant Canal that it doesn’t already own.

Seagram chief Edgar Bronfman Jr. has said he expects all regulatory approvals to be received by the end of September.

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