BBC NEWS
BBCi CATEGORIES   TV   RADIO   COMMUNICATE   WHERE I LIVE   INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC News UK Edition
 You are in: Business  
News Front Page
World
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Business
Market Data
Your Money
E-Commerce
Economy
Companies
Fact Files
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
Education
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
CBBC News
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Thursday, 12 December, 2002, 11:53 GMT
Investigators raid Vivendi offices
Jean-Rene Fourtou
Jean-Rene Fourtou replaced Jean-Marie Messier
Investigators probing alleged financial irregularities by Franco-American media giant Vivendi Universal have raided the firm's Paris headquarters.

The authorities are looking into allegations that the company published false financial information in an effort to boost its share price while former chief executive Jean-Marie Messier was in charge.

The investigators also carried out a search of Mr Messier's Paris residence, according to reports.

Mr Messier stepped down in July, and has been replaced by Jean-Rene Fourtou.

A Vivendi spokesman said the company was co-operating fully with the inquiry.

News of the raid pushed Vivendi shares down 0.7% to 16.07 euros in afternoon trade on the Paris stock exchange.

Accounting claims

The inquiry into Vivendi's accounts began in October after a group of minority shareholders alleged that the firm put out misleading information on its prospects for 2001 and 2002.

The shareholders also claimed that the company had published false balance sheets in 2000 and 2001.

The allegations, which carried echoes of high profile accounting scandals at Enron and Worldcom in the US, unnerved investors.

The media giant is facing two further investigations in the US - one by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the US stock market regulator, and a second by the US Attorney for the southern district of New York.

Vivendi, which racked up billions of euros in debt to fund a late 1990s acquisition spree, is trying to shore up its shaky finances by selling assets and aggressively cutting costs.

The firm came close to collapse in the summer, prompting a steep slump in its share price.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Valerie Jones
"He turned Vivendi into an international media and telecom giant"
See also:

03 Dec 02 | Business
26 Nov 02 | Business
29 Oct 02 | Business
23 Aug 02 | Business
28 Oct 02 | Business
23 Oct 02 | Business
01 Oct 02 | Business
19 Sep 02 | Business
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Business stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Business stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | World | UK | England | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales |
Politics | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology |
Health | Education | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes