From Academic Kids

Vivendi was the name of a French company, which merged in 2000 with Canal+ television networks and the Canadian company Seagram, the owner of Universal Studios film company, to become Vivendi Universal.

See Vivendi Universal for post-merger media company
See Veolia Environnement for demerged water and waste management company.+
Note: The leading software package for care management and staff organisation in Germany is also named Vivendi. The German software company CONNEXT introduced this software in 1995 and registred VIVENDI as a trademark in 1996.


On December 14, 1853, a water company named Compagnie Générale des Eaux (CGE) was created by an Imperial decree of Napoleon III. In 1854, CGE obtained a concession in order to supply water to the public in Lyon. In 1861, it obtained a 50-year concession with the City of Paris.

CGE extended its activities in public markets. It acquired the "Compagnie générale d'entreprises automobiles", specialized in industrial vehicles, which was later divised into two branches: Connex and Onyx. CGE then acquired the "Compagnie générale de chauffe", and later the Montenay group. "Compagnie générale de chauffe" was later renamed "Dalkia". CGE served in its public utilities capacity for over a hundred years.

In 1976, Guy Dejouany became CEO of CGE.

Beginning in 1980, CGE began diversifying its operations from water into waste management, energy, transport services, and construction and property.

In 1983, CGE helped to found Canal+, the first Pay-TV channel in France, and in the 1990s, they began expanding into telecommunications and mass media.

On June 27, 1996, Jean-Marie Messier, becomes succeeds Guy Dejouany as CEO of the Compagnie Générale des Eaux.

In 1996, Vivendi created Cegetel to take advantage of the 1998 deregulation of the French telecommunications market; it is currently a leading provider of both fixed and mobile services. Vivendi's CanalSatellite is the first digital television network available in France.

In 1998, the company changed its name to Vivendi, and sold off its property and construction divisions the following year.

Vivendi went on to acquire stakes in or merge with Maroc Telecom, Havas, Cendant Software, Anaya, and NetHold, a large Continental European pay-TV operator. Beginning in 1998, Vivendi launched digital channels in Italy, Spain, Poland, Scandinavia, Belgium, and the Netherlands.

In June of 1999, Vivendi merged with Pathé, the exchange ratio for the merger fixed at three Vivendi shares for every two Pathé shares. The Wall Street Journal estimated the value of the deal at US$2.59 billion. Following the completion of the merger, Vivendi retained Pathé's interests in British Sky Broadcasting Group PLC and CanalSatellite, a French broadcasting corporation then sold all remaining assets to Jérôme Seydoux's family-owned holding company, Fornier SA who changed its name to Pathé.

In July 2000, the company spun off the remaining water and waste companies into Vivendi Environnement, later renamed Veolia Environnement. In September, Vivendi was listed on the New York Stock Exchange (as "V"). Finally, in December, it announced a major merger with Canal+ and with Seagram, the owner of Universal Studios film company. At that point the company was renamed Vivendi Universal.

Jean-Marie Messier, Vivendi's flamboyant CEO (who had overseen the most dramatic phase of the company's diversification), was replaced in 2002 by Jean-René Fourtou.

See also

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