Inside Move: Messier denies rumors

Vivendi chief claims no discord with Lescure

PARIS — Vivendi chief Jean-Marie Messier has dismissed rumors of a rift between him and Canal Plus topper Pierre Lescure as much ado about nothing.

Messier’s comments followed published reports last week that, with just weeks to go before the three-way mega-merger of their respective companies with Universal owner Seagram, Messier had almost sacked Lescure in a power struggle over Canal Numedia, the pay TV group’s strategically important new-media subsidiary (Daily Variety, Oct. 4).

In an interview with Canal Plus’ news channel iTelevision, Messier said Saturday: “In France people love to stir up a storm in a teacup. And in this case, a storm in a teacup is indeed what it is.”

In a bid to firmly quash the rumors, Messier said: “I am convinced that Pierre Lescure and the immense majority of the Canal Plus team will make a success of the changes. I have total faith in him and he can count on my entire support to help him succeed.” Messier went on: “Without ambiguity (Lescure) is cut out to be one of the managing directors of Vivendi Universal and to be the boss of Vivendi Universal’s TV and cinema activities.”